The sport of rugby league is looking to establish itself in Canada and especially British Columbia where the sport of rugby union is extremely popular — and there are thousands of players who could be looking for something to do in the off-season.
To that end, the Sea to Sky Eagles Rugby League Football Club (RLFC) made history on Saturday when they hosted the Kelowna Crows for the first sanctioned rugby league match in provincial history.
The Crows, which are fielded by Kelowna's largest rugby union club, had a size, fitness and experience advantage coming into the game and took the win 46 to 24 over the Eagles. Over 200 spectators turned out to watch.
The Crows started strong and by the half the Eagles were down 36-6, with the only Eagles points coming from a try by Matty Upton, who converted it himself.
With some time to figure out the game, the Eagles rallied in the second half. Tom Moore and Mitch Renehan both ran for big yards, and pack leader Terry Ward ran in two 20-metre tries. By the time the half was over the Eagles had added 18 points, while the Crows were held to just 12.
The Eagles competed with four high school players in its six-man pack — Brandon Lewis, Jake Lepine, Josh Watts and Nolan Prevost — all of whom played well and showed promise.
The Eagles' next game is an away match against the Surrey Beavers on May 26.
The Eagles are based in Squamish and practice at Mamquam Elementary every Wednesday night from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. If you're interested in joining the team — and having a shot at making the provincial team — all players are welcome.
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