Story and Photos: Mark Janzen
With a 41-3 victory over the Brantford Harlequins, the UBC Old Boys Ravens took the title at the Canadian Rugby Club Championship at Klahanie Park in North Vancouver, B.C.
The 2017-18 B.C. champions represented their province in convincing fashion, beating the Fredericton Loyalists 62-8 in the semifinal to earn a spot in Sunday’s final.
Buoyed by the additions of Canadian international Connor Braid, as well as Nakai Penny, who was a member of the Seattle Seawolves this past season, the Ravens were at a different level throughout the weekend, winning the inaugural national club championship in fine form.
The Harlequins earned their place in the final after beating the Edmonton Nor’Westers 34-18 in the semifinal.
In the third place match, the Nor’Westers beat the Fredericton Loyalists 33-5.
James Thompson – UBCOB Ravens Coach
“The defence was a huge part of our success last year and we’re very proud that not many teams are able to get over our line. I think there today, we certainly showed the intensity and accuracy that we were asking for. We’ve lacked that intensity and accuracy this season in terms of the breakdown, but I think today was a good step.
“I think the fact we have set something like this up is fantastic. Obviously at the end of the day, it’ll hopefully benefit Canadian rugby. And hopefully some of the guys look at this league and would like to come out and visa versa. I think it’s a really positive step in the right direction. Our guys picked this as one of our primary goals of the season and we are happy to have represented the Ravens and BC Rugby well.”
Connor Braid – UBCOB Ravens – Outside Centre
“It’s cool to have something bigger to play for than just provincial rugby. If you want to test yourself against the best in the country, you can come to this, which is great. I enjoyed this and it was fun playing with the Ravens. It’s a good group of guys and I had great time.”
Jordan Kozina – Brantford Harlequins – Inside Centre
“I think for us and for all the other teams, it’s an exciting opportunity. It gives teams something to look forward to. I think, especially with the times right now with Rugby Canada, I think it gets at that grassroots nature that we need to build. Perhaps men’s is a little late, but I think it builds that culture and that’s important right now.
“We came into the final pretty jazzed up and we liked what we saw on paper. We had a lot of possession, but we couldn’t punch it in. We wanted to challenge ourselves and see where we stood and we left it all on the field today.”
“I think for a lot of these guys, it’s as high as they might get in terms of their rugby careers. It’s really good for them to get to play against top level teams around Canada. I think this will help develop the sport at higher levels, as well as give opportunities for Canada reps to see what’s out there other than the provincial championships.”