NEW GLASGOW – Tomorrow North Nova’s rugby teams will begin their final push for a provincial championship.
There is some excitement and nerves amongst both teams, but overall the excitement seems to be outweighing the nerves. Both feelings also come with being the host school.
“I’m really excited for Friday,” said Lukas MacDonald, a senior on the boy’s team. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity (to play in provincials at home), so I’m looking forward to getting on the field.”
The boys are slated as the number one team in Pool B at the NSSAF championship after winning their regional final 45-10 over Hants East. Although they had won earlier in the year against the Tigers, Lukas said last week’s win was a confidence boost heading into their most important weekend of the year.
“East Hants is a huge rival for us, so getting a lopsided win has given us confidence that if we play like we did against them we can match up against any team in the tournament,” he said. “We haven’t played any of other teams in the tournament besides them, but I don’t think it matters. We just need to take it game-by-game and focus on our effort.
On the girls’ side they walked into provincials with a 29-5 victory over CEC in their regional final. It also puts them in the number-one spot in their pool this weekend, which was their goal going into playoffs.
“We know we didn’t have to win regionals to get in, but it was nice to win regionals on our home field and get the spot we wanted in our pool,” said Shelby MacDonald, who is in her second year with the girl’s rugby team.
Shelby, a Grade 12 student, said their goal from the beginning of the season was to be at provincials and be ready to be competitive.
“We knew we’d make it far because we have a good team, but provincials will be a good test,” she said. “It will be hectic with 12 rugby teams and hundreds of players here. I’m really excited for the weekend.
Every team in the tournament will play two games on Friday to determine their seeding for Saturday’s games. There is a possibility of two more games on Saturday based on the semifinal results.
Both North Nova teams have experienced this before, having played in the Saint Mary’s University and David Voye Memorial rugby tournaments. Lukas said it’s tough playing twice in the same day, but they know what it will take.
“You always need to be active (warm up and stretches) before and after games, especially when you’re playing twice,” he said. “Hydration is also really important and eating the right amount of food.”
Shelby said their team looks at multiple games the same way, making sure they eat proper “game day” foods and stay hydrated.
This week Lukas said the team has discussed playing consistently for the entire game, which they have struggled with in recent games. He said they’ve also been working with their backs and moving the ball smoothly.
“We really want to continue the effort from the beginning of each game for the full 60 minutes,” he said. “We’ve also been making sure our lineouts are the way they need to be and that we’re getting the ball out to our backs as much as we can.”
The girl’s focus has been on passing and their kickoffs according to Shelby, but she said overall they’re concentrating on continuing what they’ve done all season.
“We’re just focused on us right now, doing things the way we should be.”
Friday, June 6
10 a.m. Girls – North Nova vs. Halifax West at NNEC
10 a.m. Girls – Avon View vs. CEC at Parkdale
11 a.m. Boys – North Nova vs. Citadel at NNEC
11 a.m. Boys – KES vs. Hants East at Parkdale
1 p.m. Opening ceremonies
2 p.m. Girls – Riverview vs. Halifax West at NNEC
2 p.m. Girls – Citadel vs. CEC at Parkdale
3 p.m. Boys – Glace Bay vs. Citadel at NNEC
3 p.m. Boys – Dartmouth vs. Hants East at Parkdale
4:45 p.m. Girls – North Nova vs. Riverview at NNEC
4:45 p.m. Girls – Avon View vs. Citadel at Parkdale
5:45 p.m. Boys – North Nova vs. Glace Bay at NNEC
5:45 p.m. Boys – KES vs. Dartmouth
Saturday, June 7
10 a.m. Girls semi – Pool A #1 vs. Pool B #2 at NNEC
10 a.m. Girls semi – Pool B #1 vs. Pool A #2 at NRHS
11 a.m. Boys semi – Pool A #1 vs. Pool B #2 at NNEC
11 a.m. Boys semi – Pool B #1 vs. Pool A #2 at NRHS
2 p.m. Girls final
3 p.m. Boys final