The top-performing TORA team in 2018 was the U16 Mens team, coached by Leana Marton and Scott Stewart. They went undefeated in the pool round and took home the U16 Mens Silver Medal. 12 TORA U16 players have been invited to try out for the BC U16 side that will compete in the Western Canada Championships on July 26 – 29.
Coach Leana describes this weekend’s rugby as her “best-ever coaching experience”. After two back-to-back high-level rugby games on Saturday, the team came out on top of Pool A. They defeated Van West (10-7) and the tough Van South team (17-0), who Leana says played a “beat-‘em-up style of game with several man-children.”
That put the TORA U16’s into Tier 1 on Sunday, where they played the other two top pool teams and the ‘fourth best’. The TORA boys played VIRU South in the match of the tourney and beat them 17 -12. Leana described it as, “A back and forth game, incredible rugby for this age group, and a real crowd pleaser!” The final game on Sunday was against Vancouver North-and-West. The locals beat them handily 36-0.
Monday started with the last Tier 1 pool game against a very rough and blood-inducing Fraser Valley East team. The game was tough on the team; they lost their starting fullback and inside center but won with grit and determination by the score of 15-7.
The TORA U16 Mens team kicked off the gold medal game against its nemesis the VIRU Tide. A thrilling end-to-end game was tied 0 – 0 at half. A try on the wing from the Tide was the TSN game changer - the Tide ended up winning gold 26-0, which left the TORA lads with silver. By all accounts, the score was not indicative of the game.
12 interior TORA U16s were invited to participate in the U16 provincial tryouts at UBC this weekend. Congratulations to the following U16 teammates: Ashley Bakema (Salmon Arm), Carlin Bordin-Slavens (Penticton), Storm Buck (Kelowna), Koen Buckingham (Summerland), Ben Byrne (Kelowna), Matt Ciardullo (Kamloops), Anders Fahlgren (Kelowna), Finn Hussey (Kelowna), Daniel Kilian (Penticton), Connor Laing (Kelowna), Colby Miletto (Kelowna), Relmu Wilson-Valdes (Nelson).
Coach Leana, who has attended many PRC matches over her coaching years, was in awe of the players, who she calls, “these incredibly talented kids.” She said, “I can honestly say this was, by far, the best level of rugby I have seen for this age grade. Our guys created an absolute buzz at the tourney, and not just for our coveted TORA bucket hats! They played for each other, executing their role on the team, no individuals. They were respectful both on and off the field. Their passion for the game is the best I have seen.”