High school rugby enthusiasts can usually rely on the annual Boot Game between the Oak Bay Barbarians and St. Michaels University School Blue Jags as a barometer. Not so for this year.
It was assumed that the boot champion Barbarians, seeded second in the province going into last week’s AAA rugby provincials, would succeed the seventh-ranked Blue Jags in the final standings.
Instead, it was the Blue Jags upsetting the Barbs in a 29-24 win in the quarterfinals of the AAA provincials on May 30, hosted in Abbotsford.
The Blue Jags went on to lose to No. 3-ranked Carson Graham, 44-13, in Thursday’s (May 31) semifinals, then lost 22-5 to St. George’s in the bronze medal game.
But fourth is a much better outcome than St. Mikes was picked for. And though in the end it was only one spot ahead of the Barbarians, it’s an elbow into the ribs of Oak Bay.
The Barbs cleared out the Claremont Spartans in round one, 41-5, and rebounded from the St. Mikes loss to win to trounce No. 11-seed Handsworth 22-3. The Barbs then edged No. 5 seed Earl Marriot 17-15 to complete the march up to fifth place.
Claremont struggled in the tourney, taking home the wooden spoon (awarded to the last-place team), while the Shawnigan Lake Stags won the AAA title, crushing their opponents with a total combined score of 184 to 18.
In the AA bracket the Glenlyon Norfolk Gryphons reached the semifinals but lost 23-8 to eventual winners Collingwood (West Vancouver). Esquimalt Dockers avoided the AA wooden spoon, drubbing Caledonia 32-5 for 15th place.
Peter Harrison of St. Mikes, Thomas Mirmotahari of Oak Bay and Lachlan Polson of Claremont made the AAA Commissioner’s top XV. Fergus Hall of Glenlyon Norfolk was named to the AA Commissioner’s XV.