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Photoessay: Canadian University Championship Illustrates Great Canadian Talent

Photos and Story: Mark Janzen

The UBC Thunderbirds made it two-for-two at the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship, with a pack-led 21-10 victory over the Queen’s Gaels in the championship final at Centennial Stadium in Victoria.

Trailing 7-3 at the break, the Thunderbirds’ forwards went to work in the second half. In the span of five minutes, UBC tallied back-to-back tries off lineouts – first from Joseph Sourisseau and then from Cole Keffer – to secure the Spence McTavish Cup.

UBC scrumhalf Will Percillier struck three penalties over the course of the contest and one conversion for an 11-point afternoon. Queen’s flanker Trevor Helgason touched down in the first half, with Dylan Young converting.


“If you look at Queen’s and what they come in with – they come in with an exceptional coach, an exceptional program and exceptional athletes. They’re remarkably well-structured, highly disciplined, and they play their brand of rugby better than anybody else. Their record speaks for itself (13-0, including exhibition, regular season, and playoffs this year). We had to rely on our own discipline, which was not the best in the first half; We didn’t touch the ball in the entire first half. They made us pay for it. We put in a huge defensive effort, but we just had to be patient.

“We talked to the guys in the change room and we said, ‘Look. There’s no grand mystery here. You just minimize your penalties, make a couple of better decisions with the ball in hand and you know where you can beat them.’ And they went out and they did exactly what we asked them to do.

“Obviously we can always be better, but I’m very proud of each and every one of them. I mean, (us coaches), we just put cones out. Our job is really simple. It’s (the guys) who win it. So, good on them. But, (again), credit to those Queen’s boys – they stacked up and were exceptional on the day.


“I thought we played really well in the first half. We stuck to our tactical plan and how we play and it’s the same way we’ve played all year. In the second half, UBC, quite rightly, reverted back to their real strength, which is their forwards, and two quick tries off the lineout really killed the game off for us. I thought we played well, but we just couldn’t match their driving lineouts.

“(This tournament) was a really positive experience for us. We were all kind of unsure how we would all benchmark against each other. I thought it was fairly even and there was some really good rugby played.”


It probably wasn’t the cleanest game we’ve played. At halftime, we just had to take a step back and see what was working and what wasn’t working. Coach guided us in the right direction and it started to click.

“We were playing a lot of defence (in the first half) because Queen’s is a really good team. They are a really fit team and I’m not sure if we’re used to playing that much defence in a row. They’re definitely a good side. But we just went back to playing clean and simple and that worked out.”


UBC: #8 Nick Allen, #12 Flynn Heyes

QUE: #1 Pat Lynott, #9 Dylan Young


1 2 F

UBC: 3 18 21

QUE: 7 3 10


22′: QUE Try- #6 Trevor Helgason (Convert Dylan Young) 7-0 QUE

29′: UBC Penalty Goal- #9 Will Percillier 7-3 QUE


37′: UBC Penalty Goal- #9 Will Percillier 7-6 QUE

41′: QUE Penalty Goal- #9 Dylan Young 10-6 QUE

44′: UBC Try- #17 Joseph Sourisseau (Convert Will Percillier) 13-10 UBC

49′: UBC Try- #15 Cole Keffer (Convert Missed) 18-10 UBC

58′: UBC Penalty Goal- #9 Will Percillier 21-10 UBC



Wednesday, November 21

Pool A: UBC Thunderbirds (41) vs. Concordia Stingers (8)

Pool B: Queen’s Gaels (76) vs. New Brunswick Ironmen (5)

Thursday, November 22

Pool A: UBC Thunderbirds (34) vs. Guelph Gryphons (7)

Pool B: Queen’s Gaels (15) vs. Victoria Vikes (8)

Friday, November 23

Pool A: Guelph Gryphons (5) vs. Concordia Stingers (19)

Pool B: Victoria Vikes (69) vs. New Brunswick Ironmen (0)

Saturday, November 24

Fifth Place Game: Guelph Gryphons (62) vs New Brunswick Ironmen (14)

Sunday, November 25

Bronze Medal Game: Concordia Stingers (21) vs Victoria Vikes (34)

Gold Medal Game: UBC Thunderbirds (21) vs Queen’s Gaels (10)


Nick Frost, UBC

Connor Sampson, UBC

Cali Martinez, UBC

James Carson, UBC

Nick Carson, Victoria

Michael Smith, UBC

James O’Neill, Victoria

Nick Allen, UBC

Will Percillier, UBC

Gradyn Bowd, Victoria

Sam Ibbotson, Queen’s

Charles Debove, Concordia

Cully Quirke, Queen’s

Elias Ergas, UBC

Brennig Prevost, Victoria