CanWest Men’s Rugby Championship Finals Recap

Contributed Article: Maria Samson
University Men's Rugby Championship

The University of Calgary Dinos defended their title as CanWest Champions beating the University of British Columbia – Okanagan Heat 31-15 in the final on Sunday. The bronze final was claimed by the University of Saskatchewan with a 22-5 win over the University of Regina Cougars.

Fifth Year Fullback Oliver White from the Dinos captured the Player of the Year Award and Hooker Josh Penner from UofS won the Rookie of the Year Award, as voted by the member universities. The Coach of the Year Award was presented to the University of Saskatchewan, rewarding Brennan Marcoux and Mike Sheinin for their team’s solid performance and dominating set piece in their first year in the league.

Dinos versus Heat:

After winning the regular season and coming in as the #1 seed, the Heat put enormous pressure on the Dinos in the opening 10 minutes, only allowing the Dinos out of their half once. UBCO had an opportunity to score the opening points with a penalty kick 15 minutes in but the kick was wide.

The first score of the game saw Dinos #8 Shawn Williams peel off the back of a maul to score. In the ensuing kick-off, Dinos lock Dave Matthews caught the ball on the run to go 60 metres down the field before passing to Kaiden Powell on an inside pass to score. Josh Windley converted.

The Heat had many opportunities at the end of the first half, threatening the Dinos in their 22 but the hosts held strong, relieving pressure with physicality at the breakdown. The score 12-0 for the Dinos at half.

The second half opened with a mistake on the kick-off and Player of the Year Oliver White capitalizing with a 50 metre run and touching it down for the Dinos third try. The Heat would get on the scoreboard shortly after with a cheeky midfield kick that was subsequently recovered by the Heat fullback who passed to his winger to slide into the corner, the score now 17-5.

The Dinos answered back through the strength of their forward pack following a penalty and kick to the corner. The resulting maul rewarding prop Matthew Curran and another successful convert for Josh Windley, making it 24-5. The Heat showed no quit and marched the Dinos down to similar field position with a line-out in the corner, opting to move the ball wide with lock Treasure Aniki waiting on the wing to touchdown in the corner to bring it to 24-10 for the Dinos.

A try a piece for the Dinos and the Heat closed out the game with the open side wingers from both sides scoring in their respective ends. The final score ended 31-15 for the hosts, retaining the CanWest Cup.

Fourth year Dino and Team Captain, Ryan Littlewood, commended his team: “This was a very big year for our team, and I am so proud of every single member. We had holes to fill and had a lot of new players step up to the plate. UBCO gave us a heck of a fight today, but it was a well earned, physical victory. We are all looking forward to the future of our team.”

Scoring Summary:

University of Calgary Dinos (31)

Try: #8 Shawn Williams, #14 Kaiden Powell (2), #15 Oliver White, #3 Matthew Curran

Convert: #10 Josh Windley

University of British Columbia – Okanagan Heat (15):

Try: #17 (2), #4 Treasure Aniki


UofS versus Cougars:

UofS scored early off the kick-off in the intra-provincial bronze final match-up. Both teams used a significant amount of tactical kicking to gain territory early in the half, with UofS relying on their league dominating scrum to set up a stable platform throughout the game. Winger Kylar Beauchesne scored a try after a nice step and pass from UofS inside centre. Andre Gericke made the tough conversion.

The Cougars were starved of territory for most of the half, making it into the UofS 22 twice after numerous penalties against UoS. Following a held up try, the first stable Cougar scrum saw #8 Ryland Gibb pick and go, bursting through to score under the posts to make it 12-5 for UofS going into the half.

The second half opened with more tactical kicking, resulting in great field positions for UofS. Following a miscue by the Cougars and a scramble in the in-goal, UofS touched down for their third try of the match, with Gericke converting again. The Cougars saw some relief as the scrum started to equalize and were able to hold UofS camped on the attack in the Cougars 22, holding UofS to score a penalty kick to end the game, for a final score of 22-5.

Cougars coach Greg Toews said it was a “Great day on display today of Saskatchewan’s up and coming players in a hard battle against rival schools. The young Cougars squad was led by seniors Alex Leech, Andy Jacobs, Rimo Creer, Ishraf ‘Bonesaw’ Shafiq Zainuddin and rookie stand out Ryland Gibb.  Congrats to the Huskies on a great first season.”

Brennan Marcoux from UofS was happy with the adjustments made from Saturday’s semi-final game: “We got our set pieces back on track and were able to play on the front foot most of the game. We came out with the right mindset and had a solid win in a hard-fought battle against a strong Regina team.”

Scoring Summary:

University to Saskatchewan (22)

Try: #6 Spencer Lepage, #7 Kaleb Beauchesne, and #14 Kylar Marriott

Convert: #9 Andre Gericke (2)

Penalty: #9 Andre Gericke

University of Regina Cougars (5):

Try: #8 Ryland Gibb


Individual Awards:

Player of the Year Nominees:

Rory Haynes - University of British Columbia – Okanagan, Fred Hemmingway - University of Saskatchewan, Braydon Johnston - University of Regina, Summit Sharma - Mount Royal University, Oliver White - University of Calgary

Player of the Year Winner: Oliver White – A fifth-year student playing fullback for the Dinos. Oliver was instrumental for the Dinos in their defensive organisation.  He also created many opportunities for those around him and crossed the try line eight times this season. 

Rookie of the Year Nominees:

Eric Gratton - Mount Royal University, Eric Hudon - University of Regina, Rhys James - University of British Columbia – Okanagan, Keegan Neary - University of Calgary, Josh Penner - University of Saskatchewan

Rookie of the Year Winner: Josh Penner – The starting hooker in his 1st year with UofS, he has brought great skill & consistency to the UofS set pieces, especially with his precise throws. He was one of the league’s strongest ball carriers and most technical tacklers.

Coach of the Year Award: University of Saskatchewan - Brennan Marcoux and Mike Sheinin

About the CanWest Men’s Rugby Championship:

The CanWest Men’s Rugby Championship is comprised of six universities: Mount Royal University, University of British Columbia – Okanagan, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan. The league is run by an Executive Committee comprised of Rayner Hart (Calgary - Chair), Maria Samson (Mount Royal) and Nathan Sgrazzutti (Regina) with input from each member university.

The winner of CanWest has travelled to Kelowna the past two years to play the loser of the UBC-UVic game for a berth to the Canadian University Men's Rugby Championship. This year, the CanWest Champion will make the trek to Langley, BC to play UVic on November 9 at Trinity Western University. Next year, the CanWest winners will have their own berth to Nationals, reflecting the strength of competition in the Prairies.

For more information, follow @canwestmensrugby on Instagram.