The Prince Rupert Seamen are tired of being pushed around by the skilled, and more plentiful, Terrace Northmen, even if they might share a pint or three after their matches.
So they’re getting reinforcements.
“We’ve got some young guys from the high school program that graduated and are in town to help us out,” said high school rugby coach and Seamen member George Baker.
Steven Drozd, Casey Lennon and Aiden Wilkens-Campbell are all moving on up from the high school program to the Seamen and they’ll make a huge difference in the team’s chances against Terrace.
“These guys are all very skilled,” said the coach.
“Stevie is an exceptional scrum half, one of the best, I’d say, in the province. He knows how to distribute the ball well, [has] good vision and good pace and very strong … Casey is already, on the men’s team, the best tackler. He shoots like a rocket into the guy.”
Baker estimates the team has approximately 11 members, and for a full team with substitutes, Prince Rupert needs 11 more. So, quite often, they’ll pair with the Smithers Camels. Comparably, Terrace has 26 or 27 players.
But this coming weekend, the Seamen will play a few sevens games with the Northmen and the Camels.
“The idea is to be well-prepared for the [Edmonton Rugbyfest] on the May long weekend so it’s our first chance to go out there and crack heads and make tackles,” he said.
The city’s other club, the Charles Hays (CHSS) team, trekked to Terrace last Friday for their first competition of the season and lost a hard-fought 15-0 match versus the Caledonia Bears. Scrum-half Cody Schaeffer led the team’s territorial advantage before a hip injury sidelined him.
“These guys have been pretty good at coming out to practice, which is hard because the weather hasn’t been great … [the game] is just to get guys oriented with 15s again,” said Baker.
“Some guys are used to it and some guys are brand new to it so it’s just a matter of learning that, one, you can be hit and get back up, and two, you can hit someone and not kill them.”