Pope Panthers pull off rugby win in first season game

Pope John Paul II started the rugby season with a 27-7 win over Vanier in a home game on April 14.

While a few of the boys were on last year’s team, it’s hard to believe many of the players have never played rugby before. According to their coach, Dr. Christopher Clovis, some had only seen the game played on film.

Early practices were held in the gym or the parking lot to avoid damaging the frozen field, so Tuesday’s game was the first real field game for most of the team.

“Most of them this is their first game, their first time,” Clovis said.

PJP’s rugby win is also significant because the sport is only in its third season at the school.

Some of their rivals have rugby traditions that go back decades, Clovis said.

Adrian “Chief” Heath scored the first try and team captain Paul Pakulis kicked the ball for a two point conversion.

“It’s a lot of fun so far,” Pakulis said after the game. “We were running it really well, passing could have been a bit better, I thought. We’ve got a lot to work on still, but it’s good to get the first game down.”

He said he hopes the team does well this season and expressed confidence in the ability of the current set of players.

For Clovis, however, it’s all about the game.
“Right now, as long as they’re enjoying the game I’m quite happy,” he said. “But they’re winning, so that’s a good thing.”