Playoffs ahead for girls rugby team

Lakers boys rugby teams clinches playoff spot, provincials a possibility for girls team

NAKAI PENNY WAS a force for the Pen High Lakers senior rugby team against the South Kamloops Titans. While he scored just once

NAKAI PENNY WAS a force for the Pen High Lakers senior rugby team against the South Kamloops Titans. While he scored just once

Possessing a balanced attack has led the Pen High Lakers senior girls rugby team to own a 4-0 record.

The latest win was a 66-0 thumping over the South Kamloops Titans on April 22. That offensive burst bumped their totals to 260 points scored, while allowing 17. Coach Ian Butters has been using starters from every grade and seeing positive results.

“They have a wealth of experience and knowledge of the game,” said Butters. “The grade 9s and 10s are natural athletes. They are very intelligent young women. They are learning an enormous amount every time. They are very eager to listen and to learn.”

Butters likes how his team attacks and uses its size and speed. The season has been a build off from last year.

Currently in first place in the Okanagan AAA league, the Lakers have a bye this week and will host Mt. Boucherie next week in the opening round of the playoffs, while North Kamloops is hosting Salmon Arm. Butters said he didn’t want to “jinx” anything, but if his team continues to perform as they have, he sees them competing in provincials.

The focus for improvement will be to continue to learn the rules. Butters said rugby is an extremely complicated game.

“There is an awful lot going on,” he said as his players watched the boys team defeat the Titans last week. “You can learn enough to be able to play, but it can take a lifetime to learn all rules. You can exploit another teams lack of knowing the rules.”

Senior boys

Pen High Lakers senior boys rugby coach Ken Sommerfeldt witnessed something in a 36-10 win over the South Kamloops Titans he hadn’t seen all season.

Scoring that was spread out.

“It was good to see some different players getting tries,” said Sommerfeldt. “For the last several games we’ve had one player doing all of our scoring, that’s Nakai Penny. We had six tries scored and he only got one. Up until last game, he has been virtually dominating the scoring.”

Along with Penny, Nico Carboni scored, as did Alex Graham, Donavan Schwartz, Makz Foot and Parker Berry. Sommerfeldt was glad to see Foot score as he is a Grade 10 player.

The win improved the Lakers to 2-3 in the Okanagan AAA rugby league with their final regular season game Thursday against the Mt. Boucherie Bears (5-1) at the McNicoll Oval. The victory on April 25 against the Titans was a desperately needed one for the Lakers, said Sommerfeldt.

“If we didn’t get a win, there is a good chance we wouldn’t make the playoffs,” he said.

The Lakers were put in that situation after they blew leads against Salmon Arm resulting in a 17-12 loss and Rutland, 17-14. Sommerfeldt considers his team the underdog on Thursday against the Bears. Their last win was a 59-7 victory over Rutland.

“It would be for us to get a win, even at home, is going to be an upset,” he said.

Tackling, said Sommerfeldt, will be the key for his team and spreading the defence across the field. He doesn’t want to see his players sucked into the tackling are leaving the sides open for the Bears to run free. Even if the Lakers do lose, Sommerfeldt wants the final result to be close. The Bears’ only loss this season came to the No. 4 provincially-ranked Kelowna Secondary School Owls, 36-0.

“They are a very strong team. I know their coach and I know what he will try to emphasize,” he said of the Bears.