Mount Allison rugby, a tradition

One of Mount Allison’s oldest clubs, the rugby program, has a rich history.

Founded in 1890, social inclusivity and league success have remained cornerstone to the club since its foundation.

Everyone is welcomed, regardless of skill. There are no tryouts and everyone who wants to be included is given a place on the team. If someone does not know how to play the game, the club will teach you. This means there is a wide range of skill, from amateur to experienced athletes.

Thomas Snooks, a member of the men’s team, firmly believes there is a cultural aspect to the sport that is bigger than the game.

After matches, teammates and opponents socialize, talking about their experiences both on and off the field. The rugby club is a tight-knit family that includes both the men’s and women’s teams.

The women’s team competes in the ACCA league. The team is attempting to reclaim the league title, after losing it two seasons ago.

The women have experienced both victory and defeat this year with a 12-10 win against DAL AC on Friday followed by a 32-7 loss to STU on Sunday. The women will look to rebound at home against STU on October 14th.

Kaija Belec Smiles as DAL ac player attempts to bring her down after the whistle. (Adrian Kiva/Argosy)
Kaija Belec Smiles as DAL ac player attempts to bring her down after the whistle. (Adrian Kiva/Argosy)

Under a new coaching staff, the women’s team is being pushed to work harder with more serious practices in comparison with previous years.

“The goal is to play in games like we practice,” said Eva Gourdji, a team member. Doing this will give the women’s side a better chance to bring the banner back home this year.

“Every year is a new experience, and every year there are moments that not only define the season, but stick with you for the longevity of your playing career,” said Snooks, the men’s rugby social chair.

In past years, the men’s team has competed in both the A division, with more experienced players, and the B division, which is for player development.

This year, however, the club has committed to the development of the entire team and is only competing in the B division.

According to Craig Savoie, a fifth-year veteran, this is the most sensible way to approach the season after experiencing  a lot of turnover in the past two years.

“Investing in the program for everyone to gain experience and look to join the A division in the next two years from the progress is a sure way to success,” he said.

This year the expectations for the program are sky high, as the men’s team has already secured a playoff spot, and the women’s team is well on their way to do the same.

The teams will look to hit their stride by the end of the month, when playoffs are set to begin.

Hamza Munawar