The King’s men’s rugby team has won the Maritime championship for the first time in the school’s history. The team travelled to Wolfville on Nov. 3 to play the University of New Brunswick in the Maritime final, the icing on the season’s cake, the food metaphor on the hard facts. Coach John Adams says coaching the team that day was gravy.
“We got done what we wanted to do. We wanted to win the provincial championship. We won the provincial championship,” Adams said. “We didn’t know for sure if there was going to be a Maritime championship.”
The team won the Provincial Division 2 Championship the previous week, putting them on their way to becoming Maritime champions.
As the bus to the championship left King’s, it was abuzz with chatter. As it drove up Oxford Street, the coaches were sitting up front with one of the team’s trainers. She was studying biology for an upcoming midterm. The other trainers were missing because they had exams as well. One player sarcastically interjected, “What? You don’t get paid enough as our trainer?”
As the bus moved onto Highway 102, things quieted down. The team arrived at Acadia University’s field shortly after 2 p.m., while the Division One final was underway between Acadia and UNB’s first-string team. The centre block of the stands was packed with Acadia fans, and they weren’t let down – the home team won with a score of 38-20.
“We’re a bunch of loudmouth bastards! We’re the KING’S. RUGBY. TEAM!”
After the first game finished, the sports fans left, save for a dozen UNB fans and a few King’s supporters who drove up for the game. Before kickoff the coaches brought the players in for some last words. “You’re setting the tone for the game. You’re setting a legacy. Be that legacy,” said coach Brian Krawetz.
The team took to the artificial field under an overcast sky and began to put points on the board. The first trys (rugby touchdowns) were scored by Kris Works and David Salanieks. Players on the King’s bench were warming up and preparing to play midway through the first half. By halftime King’s was up 22-3.
The New Brunswick team was physically larger than the King’s boys, but size isn’t everything in rugby. Unlike football, the game doesn’t stop and start when someone gets hit – it keeps going. The sport requires stamina. The game lasted 80 minutes and the boys in blue knew to take advantage of every second. By the second half, the UNB team was tired and about to face another 40 minutes of rugby and an 18-point deficit. King’s scored within minutes.
“When we scored at the beginning of the second half, it really set the tone, it really re-upped the energy,” said rookie Liam MacNeil, who was endearingly referred to as “Goggles” by the team.
Near the end of the game, UNB rallied and was able to put 17 points on the board. When the timer hit zero, the score was 48-20 for King’s. The team gave three cheers for UNB, shook their hands and ran into their own end zone. The young men ecstatically erupted into a factually incorrect cheer about polar bear hunting in Antarctica.
“We’re a bunch of loudmouth bastards! We’re the KING’S. RUGBY. TEAM!” they yelled while moshing, their faces beaming with joy.
The team’s coaches, Adams, Krawetz and John Choptiany, say they’re proud of the season. Their players say they’re thankful for the coaches’ efforts.
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“They’ve been awesome coaches,” said rookie Sam Campbell. “To come here and have them has been great.”
The team captain says he’s proud, too.
“It feels good, it’s a big win for the boys and, I don’t know. It’s something special,” said David Rennie. “It’s the first time King’s has ever done this and I feel like we’re going places. We’ve left a good foundation for future teams.”