Clippers repeat as WHSR champions

Published on Tuesday, 28 May 2024 09:57

For the second straight year, the Dauphin Clippers girls rugby team is Westman High School Rugby league champions.
Dauphin scored early and often, seemingly scoring at will as they defeated the Souris Sabres 78-0, led by Ashley Korney’s three tries.
Tanya Devos and Mai Maguet each had two tries and Ruth Evans, Kiersten Vandekerkhove, Meagan Thompson, Bree Walker and Scarlett Ruiz had singles.
Walker converted one try and Thompson finished with eight converts.
Clippers coach Shawn Sarkonak called it a team victory.
“We had a chat about it right at the beginning that it was the team game that brought us here and that’s what’s going to get us the championship. That we’re not individuals out here. We just pre-warned them that if any individual play creeps in you’re coming out,” he said.
“We really wanted our graduates to finish strong, so we left them out there and moved some of them around. But at the end of the day, we also wanted to make sure that we utilized our entire bench and we did and we’re happy with that.”
The Clippers did not allow a single point all season long, outscoring the opposition, 310-0.
That was one of the team’s goals right from the start.
“We said it right from the get-go that defence, you won’t actually get a win, but you’ll get a tie. And the fact is that if you get the tie, then you haven’t lost. So in effect, defence does get you the win,” Sarkonak said.
“But first and foremost, you need the ball to score and you need to score to win. So you’ve got to play hard defence to get the ball back. So that’s what it really came down to.”
Sarkonak had a hard time describing what it is like to win back-to-back championships.
“Tremendous. Fabulous. Fantastic. Whatever adjective you can put on there. Very happy. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be blessed to have the team that I’ve over the last two years,” he said.
“But a lot of that goes back to the youth program that was started, because last year was the first real crop of graduates that started in that program and now we’re really starting to see the returns on it. And we’re just blessed with getting athletic people in, good character and people who really want to learn the game.”
Now that the league championship is in their hands, it is time to shift focus to provincials this weekend in Dauphin.
Sarkonak said the team will practice this week, working a bit more on its defensive play.
“Change a few things up in our system, our strategy and look forward to trying to get that second title,” he said.
The provincial semifinals take place, May 31, with the finals set to go on Saturday.

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