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Dinos men’s rugby headed to Canada West after undefeated regular season

By Kristy Koehler, October 23 2018 —

The Dinos women’s rugby team picked up their third Canada West championship in a row, defeating the University of Victoria Vikes on Oct. 21 by a score of 27–3. With the women’s varsity team headed to nationals, rugby fans should keep an eye on the men’s club-level team as they attempt to do the same.

The Dinos men’s rugby team is undefeated in regular season play as they head into Canada West finals on Oct. 26. The team had a monster season, taking down their arch rival, the University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat.

“UBCO has been our biggest rival for the last seven years,” said Dinos men’s rugby head coach Rayner Hart. “We haven’t beaten them in four or five seasons now. Their university treats them as a varsity program so they get funding from the school. We beat them for the first time this year, and quite convincingly.”

The Dinos will have to get past UBCO a second time in order to make a run at the national championships.

“Everyone is excited to see what we can do at Canada West this year,” Hart said. “We play UBCO again on their home field. The winner of that game will play UBC for a spot at nationals. All the hard work that everyone has put in over the past few months is on the line in the next couple of weeks.”

Despite the challenge, Hart thinks it just might be possible.

“It’s going to be a big ask for us,” he said. “We are competing with arguably the strongest university program in North America. It gives us an opportunity to measure ourselves against the best team in the country. It lets us know where we stand and how much we need to improve to be able to compete with these guys. We think we’ll give them a bit of a run.”

This year, the Dinos finished first in the league, with UBCO and the University of Lethbridge trailing in second and third, even as a new league format added several new universities to the pool of competition.

“It was a big achievement for us to go undefeated with additional universities being part of the league,” Hart said.

Having a few star players certainly helped the Dinos.

“Our captain Mitchell Rudy has been phenomenal. He’s done a really good job of leading everybody on and off the field,” Hart said. “Ryan Shupe has been a phenomenal player for us for the last couple years. He gets the scoreboard ticking for us in most games. We have a brand new player, Oscar Holbrough, fresh out of high school. He’s made the jump to university rugby quite successfully and he’s been our leading try scorer.”

The Dinos head to Kelowna on Oct. 26 to put their undefeated season to the test.

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