The McGill University Redmen Rugby team capped off another fantastic season with an undefeated regular season record. This included two convincing championship wins in both the RÉSQ Final against cross-town rival Concordia Stingers and the unofficial “Eastern Championships” facing the University of New Brunswick Ironmen.
For a Rugby Club that had been around since 1863, McGill has only realized their potential as a serious University rugby side in the last ten years. After winning six-consecutive Quebec Championships, McGill looks to expand with quality competition in the Ontario leagues and sides from Northeastern United States. Internally, they now have paid coaching staff, strength and conditioning programs, and the all-important scrum machine. Also, a highly effective executive club team has expanded efforts of recruiting, fundraising and alumni relations.
McGill boasts players from all over the world, including contingents from Asia, Africa, and Europe. A large portion of the team consists of students from British Columbia and Ontario, who compliment the stalwart local Quebeckers on the field of play. McGill RFC has produced a number of top-flight players with international caps. Most notably, McGill lock Jon Phelan (B.Eng ’09) played for Canada in 2010 and competed professionally in Wales this past season.
The “Unofficial” Eastern Championships were born in 2008 when the Dalhousie Tigers travelled with two sides to Montréal, Quebec to take on the hosting McGill sides. The Redmen lost that game on a last-minute kick, but responded one year later with a similar victory against the Tigers, in Montréal.
After a brief, bureaucracy- induced hiatus, the Eastern Championships returned in 2011 with much anticipation. Trepidation was rife in the first minutes of the game, with both sides committing several penalties and mistakes. Fortunately for the local Redmen side, the game opened up and they were able to play their fast and effective brand of creative rugby. Graduating flanker John Lee scored twice as a plethora of skill came from all over the field, from first-year standouts to wily veterans. McGill won the game 36-0, in a definitive triumph for both for the club and Quebec rugby.
The win was due in no small part to the tireless efforts of McGill’s coaches, Craig Beemer, Eric van Sickle, and Adrian Thorogood. As a mainstay of the RESQ, McGill is seeking the inclusion of the University of Ottawa and l’Université de Montréal into the Quebec league, one of the many necessities for the regional growth of rugby. For highlights of the last two championship games, check it out the video!
McGill RFC is also actively involved in developing local and international rugby for those who either have not been exposed to the sport or for those simply do not have the means to play. Regionally, McGill has contributed to underfunded rugby programs by donating kit, and hosting day camps for young players to hone their skills.
Globally, McGill RFC and the McGill Marlets Women’s rugby team have been proud to affiliate themselves with Gainline Africa, an initiative to help support the development of rugby in war-torn northern Uganda. In this year’s championship games, McGill donned the signature orange Gainline Africa shoelaces – the very same that members of Canada’s national team wore in recent internationals. With this donation, in addition to other fundraising events, there is a chance to make a serious impact on the lives of other rugby loving teams around the world.
McGill continues to earn recognition as a top-tier Canadian rugby school that combines international styles of play with professional training, physiotherapy and nutrition. “The Mighty Red” are now a force to be respected within discussions of Canadian rugby, gone are stereotypes of academia and elitism when the boots are laced up at Percival Molson Stadium.
This weekend sees London Welsh in third in the RFU Championship standings, one point behind Bedford and Bristol.
And, wouldn’t you know it, London Welsh and Bedford play each other Saturday at Old Deer Park.
USA prop forward Shawn Pittman is expected to start for London Welsh. The former Chuckanut U19 product now has a World Cup under his belt and is eager to build on his debut effort with his English club.
“Everything at the Welsh is great,” enthused Pittman. “I'm playing on a regular basis and I'm really enjoying it. We have such a great culture on our team and everyone is really focused on playing.”
Despite playing a key home game that could vault them into first, London Welsh isn’t focused on the standings, said Pittman.
“It feels like it’s not our main goal, but it's still nice to be at the top,” he told RUGBYMag.com. “We are focusing more on getting our systems in place and trying to be the best defensive team in the league. It will be a challenge on the weekend because Bedford is leading the league in points scored. We just have to trust our systems, make our tackles and we'll do fine.”
Pittman said he is looking to put in another good game, and is focusing on his scrum performance.
“We did well last week and we need to continue with that on the weekend,” he said.
A quiet guy with no interest in becoming the star, Pittman said that in his second year at London Welsh he’s still happy not to be recognized on the street.
“I’m just trying to keep my head down and do my job as a player and get better every day,” he said. “If that's by staying behind and watching film after sessions or by doing extras whenever I can, that’s what I’ll do.”
The National Small College Rugby Orgniazation (NSCRO) has released its rankings for Dec 1 2011 for Men DIII
1. Franciscan University (Allegheny RU). 9-0 2. Salve Regina University (New England RFU). 8-0 3. Wayne State College (Great Plains RFU). 6-0 4. Molloy College (Met New York RFU). 10-1 5. Rowan University (East Penn RU). 8-0 6. College of William & Mary (Virginia RFU). 6-0 7. University of Wisconsin – Parkside (Wisconsin RFU). 6-2 8. California Lutheran University (Southern California RFU). 5-0 9. University of Rochester (New York State RC). 7-1 10. Tufts University (New England RFU). 7-2 11. Colorado College (Eastern Rockies RFU). 4-1 12. Montclair State University (Met NY RFU). 7-2 13. American University (Potomac RU). 6-1 14. University of St. Thomas (Minnesota RFU). 5-2 15. Oregon Institute of Technology (Pacific Northwest RFU). 3-0 (note 4) 16. University of Texas – Dallas (Texas RFU). 3-0 (note 4) 17. Wabash College (Indiana RU). 6-3 18. University of Southern Indiana (Indiana RU). 5-2 19. John Brown University (Heart of America RFU). 3-1-1 20. Brockport State University (New York State RC). 5-2 21. Washington & Lee University (Virginia RU). 6-1 22. Frostburg State University (Potomac RU). 5-1 23. California Maritime Academy (Northern California RFU). 1-0 24. University of Chicago (CARFU). 2-1 25. Duquesne University (Allegheny RFU). 5-2
Full game footage of the Varsity Cup Round 1 game between the Texas Longhorns (in their traditional orange) and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.This game was to decide who got to face Navy April 19 at Annapolis in the quarterfinals.1st half is 1st video, and the 2nd half is below. Read more...
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