Lots of positives overall, says coach
CALGARY – Although it was a heart-breaking end for Team P.E.I., head coach James Voye was focusing on the big picture.
Saskatchewan scored a try in the game’s final minute to defeat P.E.I. 24-20 in the Tier 3 championship of the Under-18 Boys Division of the Canadian rugby championships on Sunday afternoon.
“It was back and forth for sure,” said Voye about his team’s final game. “There were probably three or four lead changes throughout the game.
“It was a really good game, and both teams played really hard. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hang on at the end, but it was definitely a game they were in.”
P.E.I., competing at the national championships for the first time since 2008, finished play with an overall record of 2-4 (won-lost), and finished 10th out of 11 teams.
“We didn’t finish in last place, which is a good thing,” said Voye. “That’s progress going forward.
“We really competed in every game. There wasn’t a game we didn’t feel we weren’t in or that we couldn’t win. I’m really pleased with everybody’s performance, and the effort all week was great.”
Against Saskatchewan, Connor MacLean and William Tjeuw, a pick-up from Ontario, scored trys. Alberta pick-up Alex Halversen was a kicking force as he connected for two converts and a penalty kick that gave P.E.I. a 20-19 lead with a minute remaining. Ty Wright also hit a penalty kick.
“We didn’t finish in last place, which is a good thing. That’s progress going forward. We really competed in every game. There wasn’t a game we didn’t feel we weren’t in or that we couldn’t win. I’m really pleased with everybody’s performance, and the effort all week was great.” Team P.E.I. head coach James Voye
Saturday, P.E.I. defeated Manitoba 24-12.
Tjeuw, a pick-up from Ontario, scored two trys while Brandon Adams and Isaac Combrinck added singles. Halversen kicked two converts.
“The boys knew if we were to win yesterday (Sunday) against Manitoba there was no chance of them being last, which was a big deal to them,” said Voye in a phone interview with the Journal Pioneer on Sunday afternoon. “They didn’t want to be last place coming from the smallest province.
“To beat Manitoba somewhat handily in two games throughout the tournament was a big deal for them.”
Voye added he is already looking forward to next year’s under-18 nationals in Sherbrooke, Que.