Home

About Us

Provincials

Schedules

Sevens

Scholarships

Zone Contacts

Resources

Reflections
icon twitter
bcssru 2019 top
main-2018-69.jpg

UBC was the site for the inaugural tournament in the fall of 1971. Many changes have taken place over the past few decades, not the least of which is the staggering increase in the financial burden from the 1971 Donn Spence (Thunderbird rugby coach) "sponsorship" of the event. In 2006, a concern over player safety resulted in a longer period of rest between games, whereby game one was played four days before game 2 at various locations.

Anxious to expand its provincial championship program, the B.C. Federation of School Athletic Associations, as BC SCHOOL SPORTS was then called, appointed Bill Westcott commissioner. Only eight teams competed in this two-day event, but the competition was intense. In the championship final, Point Grey took advantage of a ten-man scrummage (which the laws then allowed) to force a Magee offside during extra time. David Whyte's successful penalty kick gave Point Grey an 11-8 victory. During the early years there was both a fall and spring championship. Vancouver and Victoria had traditionally competed during the early part of the school year, whilst the newer schools outside of these areas chose to play in the spring. Growth in the sport, coupled with the pressure to crown only one champion, led to the adoption in 1979 of a single championship. Continued growth led to the dual championships for AA and AAA schools.

The AAA champion receives the R.P. Woodward Shield, named after the man who had been an icon in British Columbia rugby since arriving from England in 1887 at the age of 18. Woodward played, coached, managed and administered the sport for the next fifty years before retiring to the role of spectator until his death in 1957. Donated in 1957 by the BC Rugby Union, the Shield was initially competed for in an informal way, with the coaches of the Vancouver and Victoria champions phoning each other to arrange the game. Some years produced no game because the coaches were unaware of the protocol. That was certainly the case in 1966 when David Thompson School was the Vancouver winner of the New Zealand Shield. The AA championship began in 1991.

The annual championships have not been without a few "glitches" since the beginning. A British Columbia Ferry strike in 1977 caused havoc as tournament organizer Derek Hyde-Lay attempted to hastily fill spaces vacated by schools that had qualified but withdrew reluctantly. Trophies have gone missing, some permanently. Two sportsmanship trophies (named after Bill Westcott and Alan Worsley) and the original second and third place shields have never been recovered since being placed in the care of the winning schools. A province-wide teachers strike in 1987 forced the cancellation of the tournament, and in 1993 a Vancouver schools? dispute resulted in that zone being unrepresented.

With the reduction in available field space being imminent in 2010, a decision was made to move the final three days of the tournament to the Exhibition Ground in Abbotsford where, for the first time, a full slate of referees was available for every game. Kamloops Rugby Club, Brentwood College and St. George’s were the sites for the previous Saturday’s Round One games. Two private schools met in the AAA final when Number 1 seed Shawnigan Lake lived up to its ranking by defeating Number 3 ranked St. George’s at Rotary Stadium. In the AA final, Number 1 ranked Rockridge retained its position but only after receiving a scare from Number 7 ranked Collingwood. 

In 2008, Britannia with only seventeen players, qualified for the tournament for the first time and placed sixteenth. On Day 1, they played with only fourteen against fifteen, because three were attending a funeral service. In the fifteen/sixteen game on Day 4, they played most of the game with only thirteen players against fifteen, except when one received a yellow card. In the seven/eight game on Day 4, when both Ladysmith and Rick Hansen had similar jerseys, one player tackled his own team member when he was about to score.

In 2010, first-time participants AAA Argyle and AA Smithers gave a good account of themselves in finishing twelfth in their respective tiers. In order to assist Smithers and L.V. Rogers, both of whom had to travel much farther than the other thirty teams, adjustments were made to the Day 1 schedule.

In the AAA 2011 quarter-finals, Carson Graham rebounded after trailing 19-0 at half-time to defeat Earl Marriott and then, after leading 19-10 at half-time in a semi-final, they lost to Oak Bay who was defeated by Shawnigan Lake in the final. For the second year in a row, rain prevented the Opening Ceremonies from taking place. The Closing Ceremonies on the last day were shortened to allow spectators and players to see the second game of the Vancouver Canucks vs. Boston Bruins Stanley Cup playoff game.

In 2012, Shawnigan Lake became the first team to win the Woodward Shield four successive times when they defeated a gritty Carson Graham side. Five other schools competed in the Championship for the first time and, in spite of the BCTF job action throughout the province, both AAA and AA divisions fielded a full complement of teams. Pete Tyler completed his ninth year as announcer of the semi-final and final games.

Many highlights over the years are worth recalling, too many to document in this brief historical look at the history. Some of them are:

  • Prince George being reduced to fourteen players for their 1988 final game 
  • The goal-kicking "shoot-out" won by Princess Margaret in 1973  
  • Merritt's three return trips in 1992
  • D.W. Poppy's extra time drop goal in 1992
  • St. George's victory over favoured Oak Bay following a twenty-five minute injury delay in 1993
  • The first Players Banquet introduced by Commissioner John Narbett in 1983  
  • The 1975 entry fee of only $20  
  • Senior and age-grade players who have represented Canada, including Rugby World Cup Captain Mark Wyatt from Oak Bay, as well as Gary Johnston who was Canada's Head Coach (1997-1990) and Assistant Coach (1997-2003)  
  • Norkam's 1983 triumph, after three second place finishes  
  • Prince of Wales "threepeat" 1984-1986  
  • Three officials for each game after 1998, and the revised tournament format in 2006, where other sites around the province were used for Day One games, and Friday was designated a 'day of rest'.  
  • More scholarships available to players
  • In AAA, Kitsilano made it to the final 4 for the first and only time in 2002, whereas Carson Graham has made it every year from 2000-2007, winning it twice
  • In AA, Rockridge has been the gold medal winner from 2004-2007

Since 1971, thousands of players, coaches and organizers have contributed to the ever-growing success of the annual tournament. Some players have gone on to represent their province and their country. All have participated in the true rugby tradition and have been worthy representatives of their school. May the tradition continue in years to come.

Doug Sturrock


Past Years of Provincial Championships

 Year AAAA AAA AAA Tier II AA AA Tier II
2018 - 2019 Shawnigan Lake Earl Marriott Lord Byng Collingwood Sir Charles Tupper
2017 - 2018 Oak Bay South Delta W.J. Mouat Collingwood L.V. Rogers
2016 - 2017 Shawnigan Lake Carson Graham Terry Fox St. Michaels University Glenlyon Norfolk
2015 - 2016 Shawnigan Lake Yale Elgin Park St. Michaels University L.V. Rogers


Since 1957 the RP Woodward Memorial Shield has been awarded to the top team in BC Boys High School Rugby. This team has been the winner of the AAAA Division since 2015-16. Prior to the creation of the AAAA Division to improve competitiveness, the Woodward Shield was awarded to the top team in AAA rugby from 1992 to 2015. Prior to 1992 when the BMO Shield was created for the AA Division, both AAA and AA teams competed for the Woodward Shield. In 2015-16 new Tier 2 championships were also created for both the AAA and AA Divisions, to improve the sport for all teams.

 Year AAA AA
2014 - 2015 Shawnigan Lake St. Michaels University
2013 - 2014 St. George's Rockridge
2012 - 2013 Shawnigan Lake Collingwood
2011 - 2012 Shawnigan Lake Brentwood College
2010 - 2011 Shawnigan Lake Collingwood
2009 - 2010 Shawnigan Lake Rockridge
2008 - 2009 Shawnigan Lake Brentwood College
2007 - 2008 Carson Graham Brentwood College
2006 - 2007 St. Michaels University Rockridge
2005 - 2006 Carson Graham Rockridge
2004 - 2005 St. George's Rockridge
2003 - 2004 St. George's Rockridge
2002 - 2003 Oak Bay Collingwood
2001 - 2002 Carson Graham Collingwood
2000 - 2001 Oak Bay Collingwood
1999 - 2000 Oak Bay Robert Bateman
1998 - 1999 Lord Byng Collingwood
1997 - 1998 Shawnigan Lake Collingwood
1996 - 1997 St. Michaels University Aldergrove
1995 - 1996 Carson Graham Highland
1994 - 1995 Semiahmoo Glenlyon Norfolk
1993 - 1994 St. George's Langley
1992 - 1993 Oak Bay Aldergrove
1991 - 1992 St. Michaels University D.W. Poppy


Prior to the 1991-92 season, both AAA and AA schools competed for the RP Woodward Memorial Shield. From 1992 onwards, the top teams in AA rugby have competed for the BMO Shield.

 Year AAA  
1990 - 1991 St. Michaels University  
1989 - 1990 Oak Bay  
1988 - 1989 Abbotsford  
1987 - 1988 Semiahmoo  
1986 - 1987 School strike  No competition  
1985 - 1986 Prince of Wales  
1984 - 1985 Prince of Wales  
1983 - 1984 Prince of Wales  
1982 - 1983 Norkam  
1981 - 1982 Magee  
1980 - 1981 R.E. Mountain  
1979 - 1980 Oak Bay  
1978 - 1979 Magee  


In the 1971-72 school year, the BC Federation of School Athletic Associations (now BC School Sports) organized one provincial championship for the Fall of 1971 which was won by Point Grey. However, because different zones played rugby during different seasons of play, from the 1972-73 to the 1978-79 school years, there were two championships awarded each year, with one in the Fall and one in the Spring. From the 1978-79 school year onward, only one championship has been awarded and that has been in the Spring now for over 40 years.

 Year AAA
1977 - 1978 Fall 1977: Magee   |   Spring 1978: Victoria High School   
1976 - 1977 Fall 1976: Magee   |   Spring 1977: Victoria High School  
1975 - 1976 Fall 1975: Magee   |   Spring 1976: Lord Tweedsmuir
1974 - 1975 Fall 1974: St. George's    |   Spring 1975: Oak Bay
1973 - 1974 Fall 1973: St. George's   |   Spring 1974: Oak Bay 
1972 - 1973 Fall 1972: Not played for   |   Spring 1973: Princess Margaret Sr  
1971 - 1972 AAA   Fall 1971: Point Grey   |   Spring 1972: Not played for 
1970 - 1971  
1977 - 1978  


From 1957 to 1970 the Victoria representative (Howard Russell winner) played the Vancouver representative (New Zealand Shield winner) in a game arranged by the coaches with the winner capturing the R.P. Woodward Memorial Shield, which has been awarded to the top team in BC Boys High School Rugby ever since.

R.P. Woodward Memorial Shield
for the Senior High School Rugby Championship of British Columbia
In Deed and in Spirit
He Personified
True Sportsmanship

 Year AAA
1970 Shawnigan Lake
1969 Not played for
1968 Point Grey
1967 Brentwood College
1966 Not played for
1965 Sir Charles Tupper
1964 Not played for
1963 Not played for
1962 Not played for
1961 Not played for
1960 David Thompson
1959 David Thompson
1958 Lord Byng
1957 Lord Byng

 


Past Years of Provincial Championships (Junior Boys)

2019 St. George's
2018 Earl Marriott
2017 Shawnigan Lake
2016 Shawnigan Lake

BCSSRU Commissioners

2015 - Present Walter van Halst
2005 - 2015 Stephen Rowell
1990 - 2005 Brian Lynch
1987 - 1990 Douglas Sturrock
1986 - 1987 Greg Ponsart
1980 - 1986 John Narbett
1978 - 1980 Claude Marsden
1977 - 1978 Tony Whitham*
1974 - 1977 Bill Turpin
1971 - 1974 Bill Westcott*

* Deceased


BCSSRU Presidents

2015 - Present Stephen Rowell
2014 - 2015 Walter van Halst
2013 - 2014 Stephen Rowell
1990 - 2013 Brian Lynch
1987 - 1990 Douglas Sturrock
1986 - 1987 Greg Ponsart
1980 - 1986 John Narbett
1978 - 1980 Claude Marsden
1977 - 1978 Tony Whitham*
1974 - 1977 Bill Turpin
1971 - 1974 Bill Westcott*

* Deceased


BCSSRU Honourary Members

The BCSSRU Constitution and Bylaws state: Directors may admit to membership as an Honourary Member any individual who has given outstanding service to the Union.

In order to be considered the individual must satisfy two criteria:

  1. Be of good standing in the community at large
  2. Have made a long-standing contribution to secondary school rugby as a coach, referee, executive, tournament committee member, supporter, convenor or zone representative.

Past winners are:

1995 Derek Hyde-Lay*
  Peter Horn
  Claude Marsden
  John Marbett
  Mike Smith
  Doug Sturrock
  Tony Whitham*
1996 Bill Turpin
1997 David Milne*
1998 Don Burgess*
1999 Marty Godsmark
2000 Brian Lynch
  Garth Henrikson
2002 Buzz Moore*
2003 Ian Hyde-Lay
2004 Paul Carnes
2008 Ken Erikson
2009 Blake Lewis
2010 Ian MacKay
  Stephen Rowell
  Dave Speirs
2013 Ian Busfield
  Pat Palmer
2014 Owen Schutz
2015 Al Hudson
  Ryan McWhinney
2017 Gary Johnston
  Dennis Quigley
  Henry’s Outdoor BBQ
2019 Kevin Ballard

* Deceased


BCSSRU Distinguished Coach Award

Presented for longstanding service and excellence in coaching rugby union.

2019 Barry Burnham
  Ron Burton
  Roger Hatch
  Paul Horne
  Spence McTavish

 


Tony Whitham Coaches Choice Award for Referee Excellence

Following the passing of Tony Whitham the BCSSRU membership voted to create an annual award for referee excellence which is chosen by the coaches at the conclusion of the Provincial Championships in the same way the referees select the Most Sportsmanlike team awards. The award is presented at the Coaches Dinner the following year to celebrate the recipient.

2018 Kevin Smith