Brooks Secondary School Junior Rugby team concluded its first season with a great showing at the Shawnigan Lake School Jamboree on Tuesday, June 4, winning two of its three matches and sharing first place with Brentwood College.
The team, coached by Bill Broughton, Jack Beardmore, Albert Michau and Jason Krowitz, is made up of students in grades nine and 10.
“We played three shortened games,” said Jason. “The games are typically 30-minute halves but we played three games over 25 minutes each and that way we got to play basically all the teams in the league: Port Alberni, Brentwood and Shawnigan.” Courtenay’s Georges P. Vanier Secondary School was not in attendance.
Brooks edged Alberni District Secondary 19-17 with strong defensive efforts by Morgan Gosbjorn and Ian Dennis, according to Jason. Key tries were scored by Jaxon Pangburn and Steffan de Villiers, with de Villiers running 60 metres along the sideline past multiple defenders to score between the posts, setting up Andrew Krowitz for an easy conversion.
Immediately afterward, Brooks played a fresh Brentwood College side and lost 25-0, despite excellent forward play by Ethan Hummel, Kaleb Parsons and Jack Padgett. In their third and final game of the day, Brooks upset rugby powerhouse Shawnigan Lake School 5-0 after a long sideline run by Aidan de Villiers set up the winning try in the final seconds of the match.
“We were pretty surprised, especially going into the last game,” said Jason. “I actually told the kids ‘this is the last game of the season and [Shawnigan Lake School] is basically the best team in Canada, just give it everything you’ve got,’ and it worked out.”
After the matches the teams had the opportunity to watch the Canadian men’s under 20 team play the United States at Shawnigan field.
“The kids got to watch some really great rugby,” added Jason.
Four Brooks players were recognized for their excellent play over the past season in being named to the North Island Junior Boys Rugby Development XV Team: Andrew Krowitz (fly half), Dion Harry (number eight), Jack Padgett (flanker) and Eli Forsyth (second row).
The team will continue to play in the off-season and are excited for next year, said Jason. Those interested in playing can contact the school, he added.
“Hopefully we can get rugby [more established] at Brooks,” said Jason. “Because it used to be a big part of the school and the club was very active.”