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The BLG Western Canadian Law Rugby Championship

On Saturday, October 5, the U of A hosted the Western Canadian Law Rugby Tournament, sponsored by BLG. History was made as both the Men’s and Women’s teams walked away with victory dripping from every pore.

Highlights from the Panda Bearristers’ Tournament

Erin Townley (3L)

Unfortunately this year every Western law school with the exception of Thompson Rivers bailed on girl’s rugby. “We’re so excited to come this year!”  UBC enthusiastically conveyed to me in June; “I can’t wait to actually play some rugby, not this touch crap like last year” U of C vehemently expressed all summer; “I hope we have a team!” U Vic wrote, desperately wanting to feel included. The Calgary girls did show up, but it was to cheer on their boys team after slaving away all week on a celebratory gluten-free cake. Luckily, a local team (the Division II Crude/West women) stepped up, so TRU and the Pandas could play two games each.

Our first game began at 10:30 against Crude/West. While the Pandas did not score, we kept the game to a measly 15-0. Alex Parker’s feral attitude quickly established its presence, taking down anything that remotely looked like opposition, including our tiny but ferocious scrumhalf, Jacqueline LeBlanc [Jack]. Both Natasha Edgar and Heather Thompson made some clutch tackles on wing, as did the wrecking ball that is Heather Frydenlund, playing inside center. Our impressive forwards (most notably Kate Hole) crashed the ball repeatedly, beating down the daunting power of the Crude/West girls. Mandy Kahlmeier’s bruised and battered legs stand as a testament to the Panda’s resilience against this year’s City Champs.

The Championship game took place at 1:30pm, with TRU and the Pandas facing off. By this time, our muscles had frozen up and we were looking pretty lethargic. After missed tackles, TRU drew first blood. Following several expletives from our coach, the Pandas demonstrated what a truly great rugby team we’ve become. At one point, Jack popped the ball to Kaitlyn Cumming, who found me just before she hit the ground. I was running out of gas pretty quickly, but then the clouds opened up, the sun shone down, the angels were singing and Nat was on my left: she took the pass effortlessly, and stormed up the sidelines to elegantly place the ball between the posts. This happened several more times as Kate Hole and Alex Parker also scored for the Pandas, giving us a lead I won’t mention to preserve TRU’s dignity. Avril Fisher’s successful conversions made the score even more damaging.

This is the first time the Pandas have won the tournament, but based on the depth of our team (and the amount of 1Ls) it won’t be the last.

Highlights from the Golden Bearristers Tournament


Drew Jarisz (3L)

On the men’s side the day opened with the Bearristers playing against perennial rivals Calgary. Hard tackles and fierce rucking characterized the early stages of the game as each team traded field position. The Bearristers drew first blood around the ten-minute mark when Steve Morrison was propelled by over a thousand pounds of sweaty man-flesh into the end zone. A breakout sprint by Mitch Barnard, a rumbling run by Jeff Pearce and two conversions by Thomas Walker put the Bearristers ahead 19-0 at the break. In the second half the Bearristers defensive prowess was on full display as a series of penalties put Calgary on the offensive inside the Bearristers 22. Three times Calgary came within five metres of the try-line and each time the Bearristers pushed them back with punishing tackles. Matt Scrivens added to the lead, dangling through Calgary backs to put the game out of reach. A relentless Calgary squad refused to pack it in, scoring their first try of the game in the final seconds. Man of the match honours went to Michael Shepherd for his tenacious tackling. Final score: UofA 24 – UofC 7.

The championship match was quite possibly the finest performance ever put on by a Bearrister team. The final game began on an unsettling note as UBC exploited an overlap in the backline to score the first try. The lead was short-lived however as Mitch Barnard immediately answered back and Thomas Walker made the conversion knotting the score at 7. As the game continued the Bearristers dominance in set plays became apparent and a lineout steal resulted in a try for Matt Scrivens. Scrum-half Riley Graydon added another tally and Thomas Walker converted putting the Bearristers ahead 19-7 at the half. Unfortunately for UBC the second half featured more of the same as Mitch Barnard ran through a winger to add to the lead. The final blow was delivered in a herculean effort by the Bearrister scrum as they forced UBC to turn the ball over inside the UBC 5 metre line. Geoff O’Brien capitalized scoring the final try of the match, dragging 3 UBC defenders across the line with him. Man of match honours went to Matt Scrivens for breaking a record number of tackles. Final score: UofA 29-UBC 7.

The tournament win marked the first time the Bearristers have hoisted the Western Canadian Law Rugby Cup in over 6 years and the boys celebrated accordingly. The day ended with the cup being passed from Bearrister to Bearrister as each took a well deserved drink of metalic flavoured beer. Victory has never tasted so sweet.