T-Birds lead Canadian university men’s rugby championship

VANCOUVER – It’s that time of year again when the UBC Thunderbirds usually make noise on the national stage and this season shouldn’t be any different when they head east as the head of series number one before the start of the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship on Wednesday, November 24th.e and until Sunday November 28e in Kingston, Ontario.

The T-Birds, who have won two of three titles at stake since the introduction of the national championships in 2017, will have the chance to make an early statement at this tournament. The blues and golds are involved in the first game against the number eight seeded Royal Military College Paladins on Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. PST (11 a.m. EST) at host Queen’s Gaels home, Nixon Field.

The competition consists of eight teams from across the country with entries from the Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CW), Ontario University Athletics (OUA), Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and the Sport Network. student from Quebec. The # 2 Guelph Gryphons, # 3 UVic Vikes, # 4 Queen’s Gaels, # 5 Concordia Stingers, # 6 Dalhousie Tigers and # 7 Calgary Dinos specifically join UBC and RMC.

MRUG

UBC had another strong campaign in 2021 which saw them rack up a 4-1-1 record to tie for second in the inaugural season of the Coastal Cup, a new high performance league from the West Coast. composed of seven teams. The teams included historic regional teams and three varsity teams which, along with UBC, included UVic and Trinity Western University whose men’s rugby program only joined the official college program in 2019.

The T-Birds advanced to the nationals early thanks to their success against their college colleagues, including an early-season 34-13 win over TWU, followed by a 22-7 victory over rival UVic at the mid-October.

Owain Ruttan

“The squad we have is very smart,” said UBC head coach Curry Hitchborn in reference to what has impressed him about his team‘s preparation and performance so far this season. “They can’t hide from them. We coaches have to be sharp every time we step onto the training ground because they are constantly motivated to learn more and apply it.”

West Coast teams have swept away the championships since its inception in 2017 and are expected to feature prominently in Kingston again. The rivalry between UBC and UVic only intensified with the frequency with which they clashed and the dramatic nature of their gold metal reunions. It all started in 2017 when the Birds outscored Vikes 37-12 to win the inaugural CUMRC, UBC successfully defended their title in 2018 with a 21-10 victory over Queen’s before being narrowly denied the triple round when UVic edged out T-Birds 21-20 for national bragging rights in 2019. Several players who were part of those championships still remain with each team and will use those memories both good and bad to fuel their hunger in 2021.

“Losing a point against UVic the last time this championship was played in 2019 was a great experience for us,” added Hitchborn succinctly. “We haven’t forgotten.”

RUGBY, male copy

As for the Birds’ opener, Coach Hitchborn admits he doesn’t know much about the RMC Paladins who finished the OUA regular season 3-1 before their last outing, a loss of 34-0 in the playoffs against Queen’s in late October.

“I actually have no idea about RMC,” Hitchborn commented. “We know so little about the teams here so it’s business as usual and we care about what we can control. We take each team seriously and get the job done.”

Connor sampson

It all starts with the meeting of the T-Birds with the Paladins on Wednesday morning November 24e from 8:00 a.m. PST.

You can watch every minute of tournament action on the live stream link below:
www.youtube.com/queensgaels

wednesday 24 november

Quarter-finals
8:00 am (PST) – 1v8 UBC vs. RMC
11:00 p.m. (PST) – 2v7 Guelph vs. Calgary
2:00 p.m. (PST) – 4v5 Queen’s vs. Concordia
4:30 p.m. (PST) – 3v6 UVic c. Dalhousie

Friday November 26

Championship semi-finals
8:00 a.m. (PST) Winner of 1v8 X Winner 4v5
11:00 (PST) Winner of 2v7 X Winner 3v6

Consolation semi-finals
2:00 p.m. Loser of 1v8 X Loser of 4v5
4:30 p.m. Loser of 2v7 X Loser of 3v6

Sunday November 28

6:00 am 7th place – 2 losers of the consolation semi-final
8:00 am 5th place – 2 winners of the consolation semi-finals
10:00 a.m. Bronze medal – 2 losers of the championship semi-finals
12:30 p.m. Gold medal – 2 winners of the championship semi-finals

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