It was after 17 years that a rugby team from the interior finally made it to a B.C. mainland final.
Kamloops Rugby Club Jr Raiders competed at the under-16 Mainland Championship after defeating the UBC Junior Ravens in Vancouver.
On Nov. 27, the Raiders played the Bayside A Sharks in the under-16 Mainland Championship rugby finals in White Rock on Nov 27 and lost to the Sharks.
“This year the U16 junior boys played incredibly hard to earn this opportunity,” said headcoach of the Kamloops rugby club Jr. Raiders, Andrew Coriale.
“The beauty of this team is that the boys come from six different towns – Kamloops, Kelowna Clearwater, Barriere, Lillooet and Salmon Arm,” Coriale said.
There were two members from Clearwater on the team, Kalan Priede and Theron McLarty and two from Barriere, Richard Blanke and Austin Davis.
Coraile said he met the North Thompson boys during the high school rugby season, and noticed the talent, athleticism, and true grit the athletes brought to the field.
Three of the team members made it to the regional team, Thompson Okangan Rugby Alliance, that competes annually at the provincial regional competition at UBC in July.
“The North Thompson boys have made an incredible impact of the field this season with the Kamloops Rugby Club U16s, between the commute to train twice a week, and attending fundraising events, these guys have been a huge part of this team,” Coriale said.
“The culture at the Kamloops Rugby Club is very welcoming, our goal is to get as many kids onto the field as possible, we strive to eliminate any barriers to entry for our youth members,” he added.