By Woodard, Dale on May 13, 2019.
As they venture into their Calgary Rugby Union season, the Lethbridge Rugby Club Division III men’s team can expect a few learning experiences along the way.
On Saturday afternoon, they got one in the form of a 59-12 loss to the Calgary Canucks RFC.
Hosting their home-opener at the Lethbridge Rugby Club, the young LRC squad stayed within a few tries of the Canucks before the visitors busted it open with a slew of unanswered scores en route to the victory.
The loss puts the LRC at 1-1 on the season, but head coach Ryan McKeown credited his team for hanging in early before Calgary pulled away.
“It was tight, it was within a couple of tries in the first half, then it got away near the end of the game,” he said. “The Canucks brought a very high-calibre team down for this division. But our guys stuck it out, they played hard the whole game. I’m really proud of them for the way they played. We have a lot of guys who were playing in their first or second rugby game ever against a very experienced Canucks team.
“They’ve seen the next level of rugby already. We’ll be building, we’ll get better as the season progresses.”
Alan Hansen and Jud Van Dellen ran for the LRC’s tries.
“They have some good, quality experience guys on their team,” said Hansen. “We still have to run a structure, we are a little bit short on subs and guys got tired. We lost our defensive structure. The first half was good, the second half we just got tired, but we have a lot of new guys.”
Saturday’s loss aside, the LRC are still .500 early in the season thanks to a 52-27 win over the Calgary Hornets RFC in their season-opener last Saturday in Calgary.
“I know last game our front five, I was the only veteran and two other guys it was their first game,” said Hansen. “Half the forward pack is first-year and they’re just learning the sport. But that’s what Division III is for. It’s for guys like me to hang on and still play a little bit a rugby and it’s the transition from high school to the men’s league at Division III. That’s exactly what it’s for.”
The Division III squad has this weekend off before returning to the LRC May 25 when the Banff RFC come calling at 2 p.m.
“The only way you improve is by getting game time,” said Hansen. “We’re going to go through bumps for our Division III team. Last week we had good cohesion, it wasn’t too bad. This week, you’re going to have your good and bad games and this one was one where now we know we still have to run our defensive structure.”
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