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HomeSportsDalhousie’s rugby dynasty continues

Dalhousie’s rugby dynasty continues

Yukon native Ewan Wilson capped off the season with a three-try performance in Dalhousie’s 40-12 championship win over the UPEI Panthers on Oct. 31. It was the second hat-trick of the year for the big hooker in a season that has seen the Tigers outscore their Atlantic League opponents by 244 to 52.

Wilson led the team in scoring with nine trys and 45 points. The victory marked Dalhousie’s second consecutive Maritime championship and third-straight undefeated season. Dal Men’s Rugby has not lost a game since 2006. The Dal Division II also won its league championship, beating St. Francis Xavier 27-18. It is the first time in Dal Rugby’s 128-year history that both teams have won their respective championships.

Fullback Teddy Moore opened scoring early in the game, beating UPEI defence off a cross kick from fly-half Kyle Langille. Team captain Paul Forrest and Ewan Wilson also scored in the first half with Ellis Gray, converting twice to make the score 19-0 at half time.

UPEI made a comeback in the second frame, scoring two tries and converting one, however the Panthers could not keep Wilson out of the n-zone. Eight-man Sam Silbergeld set Wilson up for the hooker’s second try. Shortly afterward, outside centre Ryan Vandervliet scored as well, scooping up the ball on another cross kick from Langille. Wilson’s third marker was the nail in the coffin of a game in which most of the action took place in the Panthers’ zone. Dal defeated UPEI 32-15 in the regular season – one of the team’s less lopsided victories.

Three undefeated seasons, two Maritime championships and the 2008 Eastern Canada championship has players and fans alike hungry for more competition.

“The biggest thing this year was UNB coming into our conference and raising the level of play” said captain Paul Forrest.

UNB and Dal have both fielded strong teams in recent years, leading to a heated rugby rivalry between the two schools. UNB formerly played in the New Brunswick conference before joining the amalgamated Atlantic league this year.

“By all means this was a satisfying win,” Forrest added. “I just wish we had a chance to improve our skill level against new teams. We’re better than we’ve played this season. We still haven’t played our best game.”

The Tigers will get their chance on Nov. 14 when archrivals the McGill Redmen come to Halifax for the Eastern Canada Championship. The Redmen have won eight consecutive Quebec League championships and are also undefeated this season. They have outscored opponents 223-28 thus far.

Dal and McGill battled for the Eastern Canadian title last year at Molson Stadium resulting in a hard fought 14-13 victory for Dal. This year’s Dal versus McGill match-up will pit Dal’s gritty forwards against the Redmen’s talented backs. The McGill trio of Kyle Buckley, Alastair Crow and Sam Skulsky, all three drawn from the U-20 national team, lead a Redmen system that relies speed and passing among the backs to generate most of the team’s scoring. Dal employs a more balanced system that uses heavy forwards to smash up the field as well as getting the ball out to speedy backs.

“We’ve been looking forward to McGill since day one,” said Forrest.

Joel Tichinoff was a member of Dal’s rugby club last year.

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