The Lindsay Thurber Raiders senior boys rugby team hardly had any time to enjoy their remarkable run this season.
They played out their entire season schedule in May and after seven days off in June, will represent the Central Zone at the Alberta Schools Athletic Association Tier 1 Rugby Championships on June 8 and 9.
Including tournaments, the Raiders won every game they played this season and even then were only slowed down by a few opponents.
“Number one is cohesiveness. Rugby is a team sport and we really, really play as a team,” said Raiders head coach Dean Plant.
“We’re very positive, we lift each other. We all play rugby for each other and it’s great to see. There are no individuals on the team. I think that’s why we’ve been so successful. “
The Raiders were 5-0 in the Central Alberta Rugby League regular season and picked three more wins en route to gold at the Cougars Classic last month in Red Deer.
Making the run even more unique was that they were able to do it with a relatively inexperienced group and only a handful of grade 12s.
“We had a lot of new kids. Some kids that came up from grade 10 that hadn’t played high school rugby before,” Plant said.
“They’ve done really well. They play with a lot of heart. My kids are really coachable and a great bunch of kids.”
They’ll head into provincials ranked fourth out of eight teams. Plant is confident in their ability to get a win against the fifth-ranked Medicine Hat High School to open the tournament.
“You talk about some other schools out of Edmonton and Calgary, they’re rugby schools. We’re really not. We’re just a bunch of guys that get thrown together and try and make a rugby team out of it,” Plant said.
“Sometimes it’s difficult but we’ve always historically done quite well. I think we’re right there. I think we’re a quality team.”
The last time Lindsay Thurber won gold at provincials was 201o, with bronze in 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
The Lindsay Thurber Raiders girls are also off to provincials this weekend and are seeded sixth. Their opening game will be against Western Canada High School on Friday.
In the Tier 2 ASAA Provincial Championships, Hunting Hills will represent the Central Zone in both the girls and boys groups. The boys will face off against Sturgeon Composite High School and the boys will play Bow Valley High School. In Tier 3 girls action, Wm. E. Hay High School of Stettler will represent the region.