Local rugby players struck gold in Charlottetown over the weekend at the Eastern Canadian Rugby Championships.
In the U18 men's division, Nova Scotia went on the win all five games they played. Locals Cole and Jared Livingstone, Noah Delorey and Carson Dunbar played huge roles in all of the wins. They started the tournament beating New Brunswick 15-5, Newfoundland 10-0 and P.E.I. 27- 0.
This was good to give them first place. They again played P.E.I. in semi final action, beating the hosts 54-0.
"The U18 men had not won the gold medal in over 10 years," said Nova Scotia coach Scott Taylor. "This team raised their playing standards and beat the best in Eastern Canada, the coaches couldn't be any prouder."
He said the win mentally tells the players that they can compete at nationals.
During the championship game the Bluenosers went on to win 12 - 5 with Cole Livingstone scoring a big try in the second half to secure the win.
Also winning gold in P.E.I. were Jessica Deagle in U18 women. The final game of the day saw the U18 Keltics ladies face a powerful Eastern Ontario squad who had gone undefeated in round robin play. Nova Scotia, who had defeated Quebec 17-0 in their semifinal, were looking to avenge a 17-10 loss to Eastern Ontario on Friday afternoon.
Nova Scotia would score first with a well-taken try from Catherine Rutledge (Halifax RFC). Eastern Ontario would add a penalty kick before half to close the gap to 7-3 after huge pressure on the Keltics try line. The second half saw Nova Scotia dominate the first 15 minutes but they were unable to score. Easter Ontario would spend the last few minutes hammering at the Nova Scotia line but the Keltics defense remained strong and they held on for a 7-3 victory and bringing the Keltics gold medal count to 4 from 4.
In the U20 women’s division, Nova Scotia scored seven tries and added two converts as they dominated PEI 41-0. Alyssa Canning and Tanisha Campbell (both of Pictou County RFC) were top point getters for Nova Scotia who brought the gold tally to 3 from 3 finals. Kelsey Pellerine also represented Pictou County on the team.
Rhianne MacDonald played for Pictou County in Senior Women. Her team faced Newfoundland in a rematch of last year’s final. Nova Scotia showed nerves at the start of the game but would go onto shut out the team from Newfoundland 17-0 to claim gold.
The two U18 teams will now travel to the National Rugby Festival in Calgary, Alberta between Aug. 4 to 10.
"The players attending the National Festival in Calgary will be amazed at the professionalism of the tournament," Taylor said. "They have an idea of what the competition will be like, but they will again have to raise their play and compete level to do well."