Grand Forks Secondary School’s (GFSS) boys’ rugby team is preparing for another season.
Both junior and senior teams have been practicing indoors, but with the warm weather, practices have been held outside recently.
The junior team has students from Grades 8, 9 and 10, while the senior team consists of Grades 11 and 12.
Scott Stewart, head coach of both teams, pointed out that although the junior team has a full squad, there aren’t enough students to form a full seniors’ team.
“We’re looking at combining forces with other school for play days,” he said. “The juniors will play a full 15 squad and the seniors are normally 15. If (the seniors) join with another team they will be playing 15s, but we may modify the juniors down to 10 or 12, depending on how well the other schools are doing with their numbers.”
With 15 players, the team is broken into eight forwards who engage in scrums to gain or retain the ball, while there are seven backs who move the game forward by running or kicking the ball.
“(Rugby) is meant to be a competitive gentlemen’s game, so it’s an opportunity for kids to play an aggressive, camaraderie-based sport that exercises teamwork and fitness and toughness, but also it allows kids from all walks of life to play,” said Stewart. “There’s a place for every kid in rugby, which is what I like about it. You have your bigger kids and your smaller kids, there are places for all our kids and it’s a very inclusive sport I find.”
Stewart has been coaching rugby for six years at GFSS and is happy with the development.
“It’s a young team but we’re happy with the progress that they’ve made so far,” he said. “They’re steadily improving and it’s a good group of kids in their teens. It’s important for us to keep numbers. Obviously we’d like to see 17 or 18 juniors for a full 15 squad. That’s one of the challenges with our school getting smaller is to get the number of kids up to fill the squads.”
The first play day is on April 27, but time and teams are still pending.