Canadian University Men's Rugby Championship XVs

November 19 2017


BC Teams Dominate at Men's University Championship: UBC Wins Title 37-12 Over UVic; McMaster 3rd, Guelph 4th: UBC/UVic Claim Ten of Fifteen All Star Selections

It was a long way to travel for a UBC v UVic BC Premier match. This time however it was for men's university XVs supremacy in Canada and the title now goes to UBC. The fact that UBC won and that UVic came second would surprise very few people in the rugby community. The most surprising story of the tournament was that Queen's who might have had a shot at second and definitely third opted not to compete even though it's only a 3.5 hour drive from Kingston to Guelph. There were many Queen's alumni who were upset at that choice.

The match was all UBC for the first three quarters with UVic only getting on the board with 12 minutes left, by that time UBC had put up 6 scores. UBC have become a powerhouse program in the BC Premier league where they are defending champions and will be looking for their fourth consecutive title this season.

McMaster defeated Guelph 28-3 to claim 3rd place.

UVic and UBC dominated the all star selections as well, claiming 10 of the 15 spots.


Tournament All Star Team

School / Player
1 McMaster Mike Smith
2 McMaster Jack McRogers
3 UBC Clint Lemkus
4 UBC James Carson
5 Guelph Blake Aram
6 UVIC James O'Neill
7 UBC Jake Ikeda
8 Guelph Kolby Francis
9 UBC Will Percellier
10 UBC Theo Sauder
11 UVIC Aiden McMullan
12 UBC Nathan Rees
13 McMaster Mitch Richardson
14 UBC Cole Keffer
15 UBC Fraser Hurst

Match Report

GUELPH, ON – The first ever national champion of men’s university rugby has been crowned. The UBC Thunderbirds defeated their provincial rival Victoria Vikes 37-12 in the inaugural gold medal game at the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship on a cold, snowy afternoon Sunday afternoon at the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium.

The Thunderbirds hoisted the new Spencer McTavish Trophy, named after the player and coaching legend who spent 30 years with the UBC program.

“It’s a very special moment,” said Thunderbirds’ head coach Rameses Langston. “The trophy being named after a good friend and mentor Spence McTavish makes it mean even more so. This was in our sights. We were excited when the tournament came up and we knew it would be a lot of hard work with great teams challenging for this. It’s nice to be recognized throughout the country as the number one university for rugby.”

The champions, who compete with Victoria in the B.C. Premiership, showed their dominance immediately and went up 32-0 after the first half. Wing Cole Keffer, centre Nico Cironomos, eight man Nick Allen, and Man of the Match lock James Carson, scored four consecutive tries in a 13-minute span of the opening half to seize control over their provincial rival. Outside half Theo Sauder, who led the inaugural tournament in scoring with 41 points, added a penalty kick in the 35th minute, followed by a try from tighthead Clint Lemkus, for a commanding 32-0 lead.

Flanker James O’Neill finally broke through for Victoria in the 68th minute, scoring the Vikes’ first try. After UBC’s Carson touched down for the second time in the match two minutes later, Victoria was given a penalty try in the 75th minute to close the scoring.

“Team is the best description,” Langston said regarding UBC’s effort on Sunday. “Everybody did their jobs. Different guys took it upon themselves to score points and play great defence. I’m just really proud of the way they played as a unit. All 26 guys got to contribute, which is a special thing.”

Victoria head coach Doug Tate was well aware of what UBC could do on the pitch. The Vikes lost to the Thunderbirds 44-24 in league play earlier this season and following an epic 11-11 draw with the host Guelph Gryphons on Saturday that sent Victoria to the final, there wasn’t much left against their strong neighbour.

“They’re a good team,” said Tate. “They outplayed us in the first half and used the wind to their advantage. Both teams had to play in their own end and fight against the wind. It was a fair result. We came back a little bit and it was nice to not get shutout. That’s a pretty powerful team.

“For our guys, they really enjoyed playing against their contemporaries. A lot of these guys competed on rep teams together, provincial teams, so they’re used to playing against each other. And they take a lot of pride in it.”

Tate was impressed with the first ever men’s national championship, acknowledging that the event can be fine-tuned in the future.

“Guelph did an outstanding job,” he said. “From the field staff to the concessions to the bus service, everything was top notch.”

Langston was pleased his team was recognized as the best men’s university side in Canada but suggested that winning the title was a beginning, and not an end.”

“Now we have to work even harder to maintain that status,” he said.

Man of the Match: James Carson (UBC)

Scoring Summary

Minute University Type of Score Player Convert Match Score
12' UBC Try Cole Keffer Good (Theo Sauder) 7-0 UBC
15' UBC Try Nico Clironomos Good (Theo Sauder) 14-0 UBC
23' UBC Try Nick Allen No Good 19-0 UBC
25' UBC Try James Carson No Good 24-0 UBC
35' UBC Penalty Kick Theo Sauder 27-0 UBC
37' UBC Try Clint Lemkus No Good 32-0 UBC
68' Victoria Try James O'Neill No Good 32-5 UBC
70' UBC Try James Carson No Good 37-5 UBC
75' Victoria Penalty Try 37-12 UBC

Day 2 Action UVic 95-0 UPEI; McMaster 38-11 Concordia

from Rugby Canada

UVic 95 - UPEI 0

GUELPH, ON – In a tournament that has already manufactured some incredible performances, the Victoria Vikes may have put together the best so far. Victoria overwhelmed the UPEI Panthers 95-0 on Day 2 of the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship at Guelph’s Alumni Stadium.

The Vikes, who play in the B.C. Premiership, exploded for 52 first-half points – and didn’t slow down in the second. Victoria ran in several tries from long distances, showing off a high level of both skill and speed. And the Maritime University champion Panthers were unable to keep pace.

Victoria head coach Doug Tate had plenty of praise the opponent.

“We play teams every week that are physical, faster and bigger, and I think they were outsized against guys with a little more experience,” said Tate. “Hats off to them for not giving up. They played two hard games in two days, after a 19-hour bus ride. That’s a tough ask.”

The Panthers faced a huge hurdle in matches against powerhouse teams from B.C. and Ontario. Head Coach Charles Waddell was most of proud of his team’s work rate throughout the two matches against Victoria and host Guelph.

“There was no quit, which we came into the tournament hoping to display,” he said. “We knew that we couldn’t necessarily compete with these bigger schools but we could work hard and show what kind of heart UPEI has.”

Thirteen different players had tries for the Vikes, including two each from wing Noah Bain and eight man Jackson Matthews, who also took Man of the Match honours. Outside half Brennig Prevost took over the tournament scoring lead with 10 converts for 20 points.

Victoria had the ball for most of the match and began the onslaught early. Bain touched down after an incredible long run down the right sideline in the fourth minute. Flanker Tom Heuser added another try in the sixth minute before Matthews scored his first try in the ninth minute for a quick 12-0 lead.

The Vikes kept going forward, stealing the ball the rare time UPEI had possession, and sending waves of attack at the Panthers. Despite the scoreline, Waddell knew the experience would be beneficial for his side.

“It’s great for our guys because it’s exposure to a higher level of rugby,” he said. “Now they see what they hope to achieve at some point in the future. Playing these guys, seeing how well organized, how fit they are, it gives them a goal. They will have new-found belief that given some hard work, they can compete with these guys in the future.”

Victoria will now play the host Gryphons Saturday at 2:00 pm. Tate said the Vikes aren’t necessarily used to playing on fast turf and he knows the weather will be a challenge, with plenty of rain expected for the weekend.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said, acknowledging the need to deny the physical McMaster lineup possession. “They’re the home team, they play all their games on turf. I thought they were physical and well organized.”

“There’s no question we will have to defend well. We fell off some tackles today. We’re definitely going to have to be on our game tomorrow.”

McMaster 38 - Concordia 11

GUELPH, ON – The McMaster Marauders made an impressive debut at the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship. McMaster defeated the Concordia Stingers 38-11 in Pool A play on a cold, clear day at Alumni Stadium on the University of Guelph campus.

It took a few minutes to get going but the side from Hamilton dominated possession and was solid up front throughout the match, while Concordia squandered many of the opportunities they did have, unable to string together any momentum.

“We started out a little sloppy and made a few mistakes in the first 10 minutes,” said Marauders’ head coach Dan Pletch. “I think the guys were just nervous playing in their first national championship. And Concordia played well given that they went 60 minutes against a real tough opponent. They put us under some pressure. But we tightened it up and corrected some mistakes.”

Fly half Will Redgate and centre Kevin Perera scored first-half tries for McMaster, while hooker Jack McRogers, wing Callum Mcleay, and fly half Graham Dobbs each had a try in the second half for the OUA bronze medalists. Fly half William Kelly was also good on three penalty kicks and two converts.

Eight man Lucas Hotton scored Concordia’s lone try, while fullback Jonathan Banks had two penalty kicks.

Stingers’ head coach Craig Beemer said he knew that the sheer size of his team’s opponents would be an issue at the event.

“We played a lot of defence and didn’t have much ball throughout the tournament,” said Beemer. “We weren’t ready for the physicality that the Ontario and BC teams brought. It was definitely eye opening for us. In the end, it will be a good learning experience. We have a whole year to get bigger, stronger faster. We know that if we’re fortunate enough to win our conference again and go to another national championship, we’ll have to be prepared physically.”

McMaster was up 19-3 early in the second half when McRogers sprinted in from about 30 yards out. Banks would add his second penalty kick for the Stingers but the Marauders responded with two more hard-earned tries from Mcleay and Dobbs.

Hotton would score the Stingers’ first try of the tournament on excellent effort when he broke away from the McMaster defence in the final seconds of the match.

“It’s pretty important in the sense that we worked really hard this year,” Beemer said of Hotton’s run. “No one gave up until the final whistle and having it end with a hard-work try is something to take home, a positive.”

The two sides exchanged early penalty kicks before McMaster began to gain some control in the game. Redgate scored a try in the 15th minute to put the Marauders up 8-3. And moments later, the Stingers were the victims of bad luck. A Concordia player was injured on the field, giving McMaster a temporary numerical advantage, which they utilized when Perera touched down in the 17th minute.

The Stingers were able to get deep into the McMaster end on their next possession but they lost a scrum to give the ball back. Kelly added a penalty kick from 38 yards out to give the Marauders a 16-3 lead at the half.

Next up for McMaster is a date with UBC Thunderbirds.

“We’ll have to keep it simple like we always do,” said Pletch. “Defence will be key, the set piece will be key. We’ll have to keep possession of the ball. We will just have to go out and do our best and see what happens.”

Beemer was positive about his side’s experience and understands that the defending RSEQ champions now have a new goal now.

“When the season began, there was no national championship,” he said. “Going into next year, we will have something bigger to go for.

“Even if we win our conference, we still have to go to war against some big and talented teams after that.”

Pool A

UBC Thunderbirds
McMaster Marauders
Concordia Stingers

Pool B

Guelph Gryphons
Victoria Vikes
UPEI Panthers

Tournament Schedule:
Saturday, November 18

UBC Thunderbirds vs McMaster Marauders

Guelph Gryphons vs Victoria Vikes

Sunday, November 19

11:30am (Bronze)
2nd Place Pool A vs 2nd Place Pool B

1pm (Gold)
1st Place Pool A vs 1st Place Pool B

Day 1 Action UBC 46-0 Concordia; Guelph 66-0 UPEI - Match Reports & Video Links

No surprises on Day 1 and the underdogs failed to score a point. UBC looked rough in their win over Concordia and could have put up a lot more points if their handling was sharp. The jet lag or cold temperatures could be used as excuses but they'll have to improve as the competition gets tougher.

UVic gets their first run tomorrow against UPEI, it likely won't be pretty and a bit of a mismatch. McMaster get their first match vs Concordia and a chance to measure the strength of their program.

Things get more interesting on Saturday with UBC v McMaster and UVic v Guelph.

Here's a 30 second clip of the UBC match showing the strength of the UBC pack and Clint Lemkus at #3 powering ahead. It also shows how UBC were a little disjointed and ran out of support turning the ball over.

The full UBC match can be viewed here.

UBC Match Report from

GUELPH, ON – The UBC Thunderbirds showed their class early in the inaugural Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship. The Thunderbirds looked sharp in the tournament’s opening match, defeating the RSEQ champion Concordia Stingers 46-0 at Alumni Stadium in Guelph

UBC, participants in the B.C. Premiership, dominated in scrums and possession, while the Stingers tried to hold off the Thunderbirds but had a difficult time stringing phases together.

“It’s the work that goes in,” UBC head coach Rameses Langston said of his team’s dominance in scrums. “We put a lot of time and effort into coaching our guys the appropriate skills to be successful in that area. When you get complete buy-in from 15 guys, you see the results on the field.

“We’re happy to move on.”

Fullback Fraser Hurst scored two tries, while centre Nathan Rees, loose head Clint Lemkus, eighth man Nick Allen, flanker Michael Smith, and hooker Cali Martinez each had a try. Outside half Theo Sauder had a penalty kick and three converts.

UBC was the more physical side and got on the board first after a series of early scrums deep in the Concordia end. Rees eventually touched the ball down in the seventh minute and a Sauder convert gave the Thunderbirds a 7-0 lead.

Sauder added penalty kick from about 40 yards out and minutes later, UBC would produce its second try after they pushed another deep scrum across the line, with Lemkus touching down. The Thunderbirds added another try from Allen just before the half to take a 20-0 lead, before scoring four more second-half tries.

“They got that first scrum and we were running backwards,” said Concordia coach Craig Beemer. “They’re obviously a smart team. They got penalties and immediately called for the scrum again. Our forwards learned a lot today.

“We haven’t had any competition like that this year. Just playing today, even though it’s a quick turnaround, will help us. Our guys really started to compete defensively a lot better in the second half. We brought our tackle height down a lot. That really killed us in the first half.”

Man of the Match: Michael Smith (UBC)

Scoring Summary

Minute University Type of Score Player Convert Match Score
7' UBC Try Nathan Rees Good (Theo Sauder) 7-0 UBC
14' UBC Penalty Kick Theo Sauder 10-0 UBC
19' UBC Try Clint Lemkus No Good 15-0 UBC
29' UBC Try Nick Allen No Good 20-0 UBC
34' UBC Try Fraser Hurst Good (Theo Sauder) 27-0 UBC
45' UBC Try Michael Smith Good (Theo Sauder) 34-0 UBC
52' UBC Try Cali Martinez No Good 39-0
58' UBC Try Fraser Hurst Good (Daniel Archer) 46-0


UBC Thunderbirds (1-0)
Concordia Stingers (0-1)
McMaster Marauders

Guelph Gryphons
Victoria Vikes
UPEI Panthers

Guelph match report from from

GUELPH, ON – The Guelph Gryphons men’s rugby team looked like a side that had something to prove. The Gryphons jumped out to a big lead early and ran past the UPEI Panthers 66-0 in the second game of the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship on a cold and wet Thursday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.

The Gryphons were coming off a decisive loss in the OUA championship match to the Queen’s Gaels but they were certainly prepared for their opening match in a home environment. Guelph utilized a combination of speed and power to overwhelm the Panthers early, scoring tries in bunches.

“Last week was obviously very difficult but the good news was that we didn’t have to sit around for eight months waiting to play rugby again,” said Guelph head coach Cory Hector. “This tournament is an opportunity to redeem ourselves.”

Flanker Erich Milne had two tries and won Man of the Match honours, while wing Jordan Hofstra, centre Kyle Lagasca, prop Sam Evans, hooker Jack Caylor, fullback Andrew Douglas, scrum half Chris Gray, and flanker Alex Chaffey each added a try for the tournament hosts. Fly half John Sheridan made six converts before giving way to Walsham Owen, who added two more.

Hector wanted his team to cut down on turnovers going forward but he appreciated that they attacked from all areas of the pitch despite the tough conditions.

“It was wet but we were still willing to throw the ball around,” he said. “I like that. We challenged ourselves. We used the wind a little in the first half but we weren’t afraid to run the ball out and play to the open space. And we didn’t allow a point. It’s always nice when you’re defence puts up a zero.”

Guelph poured it on early against the Panthers, scoring the first four tries of the match in the opening 15 minutes. Hofstra got things started when he stretched out across the line in the fourth minute. Milne would add another two minutes later before Lagasca took a flip and ran right through the middle for a quick 19-0 lead following Sheridan’s convert.

The Gryphons’ fourth try, coming in the 15th minute, was the byproduct of an excellent effort from Hofstra, who picked up a loose ball and pitched it to Douglas. Sheridan was good on the convert to send the hosts into halftime up 40-0. They touched the ball down four more times in the second half, the last try coming from Chaffey to close out the scoring.

It was a learning experience for UPEI but the overmatched side showed plenty of heart.

“We got to play against a team at a very high level,” said Panthers’ head coach Charles Waddell. “With hard work in the offseason and next few years, hopefully we can get to that level. They saw how Guelph plays, the way they move the ball. We’ll go home and work on that.

“I was really impressed with our forwards today,” Waddell added. “They held their own against the second-best pack in Ontario. We just need to work on our tackling.”

Man of the Match: Erich Milne (Guelph)

Scoring Summary

Minute University Type of Score Player Convert Match Score
4' Guelph Try Jordan Hofstra No Good 5-0 Guelph
6' Guelph Try Erich Milne Good (John Sheridan) 12-0 Guelph
13' Guelph Try Kyle Lagasca Good (John Sheridan) 19-0 Guelph
15' Guelph Try Sam Evans Good (John Sheridan) 26-0 Guelph
21' Guelph Try Jack Caylor Good (John Sheridan) 33-0 Guelph
27' Guelph Try Andrew Douglas Good (John Sheridan) 40-0 Guelph
33' Guelph Try Ben Wust No Good 45-0 Guelph
36' Guelph Try Erich Milne Good (John Sheridan) 52-0 Guelph
37' Guelph Try Chris Gray Good (Walsham Owen) 59-0 Guelph
50' Guelph Try Alex Chaffey Good (Walsham Owen) 66-0 Guelph


UBC Thunderbirds (1-0)
Concordia Stingers (0-1)
McMaster Marauders

Guelph Gryphons (1-0)
Victoria Vikes
UPEI Panthers (0-1)

Inaugural Canadian University Men's Rugby XVs Championship Kicks Off Thursday: Queen's as Ontario #1 Sits Out Tournament

The good news is that a lot of effort has gone into putting together the first men's Canadian University Championship for XVs. The Canadian Rugby Foundation provided the seed money, Rugby Canada staff are helping to organize and University of Guelph are hosting. The bad news is that Queen's University who are ranked #1 in Ontario, who won the Ontario university title comprehensively 62-17 over Guelph last weekend, aren't competing. An email request to Queen's coach David Butcher asking for clarification wasn't returned. Butcher is also a coach at the national and provincial level so the decision is mystifying to many.

UBC will be favourites to come out on top, and UVic to be in the final match. The strength of the BC teams may have been a factor in Queen's opting out. Other universities competing include Concordia, UPEI, McMaster, Guelph.


Thursday, November 16
12pm UBC Thunderbirds vs Concordia Stingers
2pm Guelph Gryphons vs UPEI Panthers

Friday, November 17
12pm Concordia Stingers vs McMaster Marauders
2pm Victoria Vikes vs UPEI Panthers

Saturday, November 18
12pm UBC Thunderbirds vs McMaster Marauders
2pm Guelph Gryphons vs Victoria Vikes

Sunday, November 19
11:30am (Bronze) 2nd Place Pool A vs 2nd Place Pool B
1pm (Gold) 1st Place Pool A vs 1st Place Pool B

Here are some resources for keeping up to date:

Offical Facebook Page

Official Guelph University Hosting Page

The teams will be competing for the Spence McTavish Cup, no doubt UBC will have extra motivation to take that home on its first display.

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