5:30 p.m., May 24)
Peter wins high school rugby championship
in dramatic fashion
By Mike Beasley
Therrien is lifted on to the shoulders of
his St. Peter Knights temmates after making
the winning kick to capture the city championship
on Wednesday. Fred Sherwin/Photo
St. Peter Knights senior boys rugby team ended a three
year drought on Wednesday, downing their namesakes from
Nepean High School to win the NCSSAA 'AAA' championship.
Nepean Knights had beaten St Peter in the final in each
of the last two years, including in 2015 when they scored
a game-winning try on the last play of the game.
final surpassed that result in dramatics with the match
coming down to extra kicks after neither team could decide
the result in overtime.
hero of the hour was Matt Therien who booted the game
winning kick in the sixth round of extra kicks after Nepean's
Aiden Harris sailed his attempt wide right.
was Therrien's right foot that extended the match into
extra kicks in the first place. After Zak Karim scored
a try late try in extra time, Therrien had to make the
convert from the left side which he did with a metre to
high school rugby the two teams play two five-minute halves
of overtime. If the game is still decided then it goes
to extra kicks with each team's kicker making three kicks
from the middle, left and right positions on the 22-metre
line. If the game is still tied after three attempt, the
the result comes down to sudden death, or sudden victory,
depending which side you are on.
the St. Peter Knights it was sudden victory.
was a tense moment for Therrien who had missed his earlier
attempt from the right side the first time around.
first time I set it too low. So I really double checked
to make sure I had it right and I just I thought of everyone
behind me and I kicked it through for them," said
an emotional Threrien, showing the strain of having to
carry the weight of his entire team on his shoulders.
Peter flying out of the gate at the start of the game
resulting in an early try by speedster Pierre Hardy-Goumbas.
best Nepean could do in the first half was a penalty kick
to narrow the score to 5-3.
split the uprights on a penalty kick early in the second
half to reestablish Knights' five-point lead, which is
how the score remained until the 24th minute of the second
half when Nepean scored a game tying try after dominating
possession for several minutes.
time winding downin the game, a desparate St. Peter side
responded five minutes later with Hardy-Goumbas second
try of the game. Unfortunately, Therrien's second missed
convert of the contest meant that Nepean still had a shot
at stealing the title with a converted try of their own.
under two minutes left, the Nepean Raiders mounted a counter-attack
which resulted in a game-tying try in added time. All
Harris had to do was to kick the convert from the left
side of the 22-metre line. Unfortunately for Nepean, he
pushed his attempt wide and the game headed into extra
would redeem himself in the first half of the extra session
by galloping through the St. Peter defence from about
25 metres and scoring a try between the goalposts to set
up an easy conversion attempt which he didn't miss.
Nepean on top the score remained unchanged until late
in the second half of extra time. Just as Nepean had done
at the end of regulation, St. Peter was able to move the
ball inside their opponents' 22-metre line with time running
out and eventually got the ball over the line on Karim's
try. Therrien made the conversion and the rest is history.
St. Peter Knights pose for a team picture
after winning the NCSSAA 'AAA' high school
rugby championship on Wednesday. Fred Sherwin/Photo
Grade 12 seniors like Therrien, and co-captains Quinn
Nadon-Stencill and Jake Lowe, Wednesday's win ended three
years of frustration. To a man, they all dedicated their
victory to their coach, Lee-Ann Napiorkowski, or just
plan Nap for short.
is like a second mom to us. We're like a great big family.
If it wasn't for her I don't think I would have been able
to make thos last kicks," said Therrien, whose words
were echoed by Nadon-Stencill.
built me from the ground up. She brought me in when I
was in Grade 9 and she taught me the fundamentals of rugby
and what it means to be a rugby player, the traditions
and the culture of it, before I even started to play,"
the long-time St. Pete's coach, the win over a traditional
nemesis was especially sweet.
ended the Nepean curse," Napiorkowski said after
the game. "Coming down to kicks is never a fun outcome.
It's so stressful for anyone kicking. It could go either
way, but Matt was able to pull it through for us. The
pressure on the poor kid is too much."
is the second time that St. Peter has won a city championship
in extra kicks. The last time was in 2007.
kids pulled it together. The composure was there,"
said Napiorkowski referring to the 2016-2017 Knights.
"This is a group of boys I love working with and
they have nothing but heart and character."
and character is something they are going to need in spades
as they advance to the OFSAA provincial championships
being held in Ottawa from June 1-3.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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