Smithers takes on Houston during rugby sevens action

SSS hosts rugby sevens

Four schools came from all over the northwest region last Saturday, to get in some rugby action before the weather turns.

The fall Smithers Secondary rugby sevens season likely started and finished last Saturday, after junior and senior teams from Houston, Prince Rupert and Fort St. James made the trip for the day-long tournament.

Though the teams kept score, the tournament was more about gaining experience, not winning or losing.

But the Smithers teams looked good.

“You could say that Smithers had the upper hand the whole day,” head coach Cobus Jonker said. “But it’s part of the tournament to not really declare a winner or loser; it’s developmental rugby.”

Two years ago there was no rugby to speak of at Smithers Secondary.

Now, thanks to two rugby loving, South African ex-pats, Jonker and Allan Slater, it’s the most popular sport in the school.

In the beginning it was difficult for Jonker and Slater to fill out their rosters.

Now, there are  65 players enrolled in rugby at Smithers Secondary, including 30 on girls teams.

“I think our recipe is working,” Jonker said.

“We don’t exclude anyone. If they don’t have the skills it’s up to us to teach them the skills. There are no bench warmers on our rugby teams.”

Jonker and Slater are using the two months before the snow hits in autumn to teach fundamentals through rugby sevens – a faster more high-tempo version of the game. Some of the juniors playing on Saturday saw the first game action of their young careers.

“It’s a softer game with lots of running and the tackling and the ball contact isn’t so difficult,” Jonker said. “So we view it as an opportunity to teach our younger guys.”

Then, in the late winter, the rugby 15’s start up. Jonker and Slater hold two practices a week for the boys’ and girls’ teams in preparation for the coming season.

This year, the girls’ teams will play in both the U-14 and U-17 competitions at the B.C. Summer games and, in lieu of the B.C. rugby championships, will take a tour of Scotland in the spring.

The boys are planning on entering U-16 and U-18 teams in the provincial competition.

“We can only go forward,” Jonker said. “As coaches we see it as a challenge to grow the sport.”

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink gets interim injunction against Unist’ot’en

The LNG pipeline company can start work Monday with enforcement approved by court.

They’re engaged!

Birthday party turns into engagement party for Doug and Matilda

Hampers a chance to help in the Christmas spirit

SCSA sends around 350-400 hampers to the area from Witset to Telkwa.

Volunteers create Christmas magic at Santa’s Breakfast

PHOTOS: For the past 19 years, a local event helped remind us that Christmas is a time of giving.

Most intervenor requests in crucial natural gas pipeline case rejected

At stake is whether gas pipeline to LNG Canada plant should fall under federal jurisdiction

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Mike Duffy can’t sue Senate over suspension without pay, judge rules

Duffy’s lawsuit sought more than $7.8 million from the upper chamber

Most Read