NEW YORK – A P.E.I. rugby team recently made a huge statement in the Big Apple.
The P.E.I. under-18 boys won the Plate championship at the New York 7s tournament, and finished fifth overall out of 15 teams.
“I’m very happy with the boys’ progress and success this fall in what was the P.E.I. Rugby Union’s first attempt at fielding a junior 7s team to play this time of year, and travel outside of the country,” said P.E.I. head coach James Voye of Summerside. “It’s another great opportunity for the athletes to continue playing rugby after the summer season, and 7s is really growing in popularity very quickly.”
The sport of 7s rugby features seven players playing as opposed to 15 players on the field.
P.E.I., which also participated in the Nova Scotia Under-19 Fall 7s Series, opened play in New York with a 17-7 loss to Upright Rugby Rogues Academy. Jordan Arsenault scored P.E.I.’s try and convert.
The Island squad, though, bounced back to win their final three games. Sterling MacKendrick, Thomas Shea, Devon Newberry, Cole Adams, Barrington Duffy and Dylan Mugridge were credited with trys while Jordan Arsenault executed three conversions in a convincing 36-5 win over NYRC Rugby Boys.
“The boys were nervous during the first game, not knowing what to expect, or if they would be able to compete,” said Voye, who is also head coach of the senior AAA boys’ rugby team at Three Oaks Senior High School in Summerside. “They were a much better team in the second game, supporting the ball, off-loading, scoring trys and having fun.
“Bouncing back and playing well set the tone for the rest of the day, and winning three games in a row.”
In the Plate Division semifinal, P.E.I. pulled out a 12-5 win over Aspetuck Valley from Connecticut. Duffy and Adams registered P.E.I.’s trys while Arsenault had a conversion.
In the Plate final, P.E.I. pulled out a hard-fought 17-15 decision over PRUSA Academy.
Adams, Mugridge and Jonathan Rose scored P.E.I.’s trys. Arsenault added a convert.
Proud of team
Voye praised the efforts and sacrifices of all team members, and went on to talk about the significance of the team’s achievement.
“I’m very proud of this group of young men,” continued Voye. “The fact that we proved a junior team from P.E.I. can travel to the New York 7s, compete and win a Plate final in a competitive division is only going to help rugby grow on P.E.I.”