Big start for a little club – the new men’s rugby team at UNB Saint John

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UNBSJ has added an essential maritime sport to their athletic clubs lineup – men’s rugby.

Rugby has deep roots in Saint John; with two local clubs (the Saint John Irish and the Saint John Trojans) involved in provincial and maritime competition, and a long history of high-school programs.

What has been lacking is a university team. Having a local university team adds an important component to the community. This importance was made clear when, upon polling the New Brunswick Rugby Union for coaches, the team quickly gained the U17 coach for Rugby Canada, Andrew MacDonald (Moncton Black Tide), along with long-time player and coach Dave Illingworth (Saint John Trojans), and player/coach Brent Garrish (Mirimachi RFC).

This depth and experience in our coaching staff is supported by a similarly experienced executive of Sean Haughian (PhD student), Duane Guay and Austin Arsenault (senior business students), all of whom play for the Saint John Irish RFC, and Nick McCullum (1st year BSc student) from the Belleisle Rovers RFC.

The Seawolves’ first game was on Sep. 20 against the UNB Fredericton Ironmen. It was a close, competitive game that had at least one of our coaches pleasantly surprised at how quickly the Seawolves’ had come together as a team.

At the end of the first half, the Seawolves were up 5-0, thanks to a try by Duane Guay. Unfortunately, the second half of the match saw injuries pile up for some of the starting players – the entire front-row was off the pitch by mid-way through, then the starting 8-man was pulled out by a rather spectacular-looking (but thankfully not serious) cut over the eye.

The Ironmen quickly took advantage of these mounting injuries, and scored 20 points during this half, but fought hard for each try. Needless to say, the Seawolves are looking forward to their rematch on Oct. 25 at their home-field.

The men’s Seawolves rugby team is truly set to be one that brings the community closer to UNBSJ, and UNBSJ closer to the community. Rugby has always been a sport for all people, and with the continued involvement of individuals from five New Brunswick clubs, our provincial rugby union, and the greater Saint John community, it has a bright future at UNBSJ.

For more information on the UNBSJ Seawolves, inquiries can be directed to Sean Haughian via email: seanh@unb.ca.

UNBSJ's Seawolves men's rugby team
UNBSJ’s Seawolves men’s rugby team. Photo Credit: Paul Wilson