Canada Games

Scarborough scores two tries to lead Ontario to rugby gold

The Canadian Press
8/22/2009 2:32:35 PM
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SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. -- In what may have been rugby's final appearance at the Canada Summer Games, Ontario's players wanted to guarantee themselves a spot in history.

Ryan Scarborough of Uxbridge, Ont., scored a pair of tries Saturday to lead Ontario to a 24-15 victory over perennial powerhouse British Columbia in the gold-medal men's rugby game at the Canada Summer Games.

Taylor Paris of Barrie, Ont., added a try while Liam Underwood of Toronto had nine points on a three conversions and a penalty kick en route to Ontario's first ever rugby gold at the Games.

"It put that much more on us to win, that added pressure of this being the last rugby at Canada Games," Paris said. "We wanted Ontario to go out on top with a gold medal.

"We started this last October, driving though snowstorms to train in Uxbridge and putting in all the work for this moment, all 25 guys coming together at this time to take home the gold medal."

Ross Yellowlees of Vancouver and Shea Wakefield of Victoria for B.C., scored tries while Carlin Hamstra of Cowichan, B.C., had five points on a conversion and penalty.

Ontario's victory came despite the fact the team was down to 13 men for a good chunk of the second half after David Croxall of Uxbridge and Toronto's Matthew Mufandaedza were sent to the sin bin with yellow cards.

"This was our seventh game, as a team pattern, we played our 16 to 25 men more than our starters throughout the tournament to save our starters for this," said Ontario's coach Paul Connelly. "So in my opinion, it was our reserves that won that gold medal for us, because we looked fresher today. When we were down two men in the bin, and they didn't score on us, that says a lot about our guys."

Both teams cruised through the week undefeated -- except their one game against each other, a 7-7 tie. Ontario had outscored its opponents 211-49 in its six previous games, while B.C. had clobbered its six opponents by a combined 263-13.

"This is unbelievable," said Toronto's Matt Kelly. "It was 25 guys that won this tournament, it wasn't just one through 15, it was one through 25, everyone played hard, everyone gave it their all, that's what won the tournament for us, everyone playing together."

Newfoundland and Labrador won the bronze with a 29-17 win over Alberta.

Ontario's first gold medal might be its last as rugby isn't on the schedule for the 2013 Games in Sherbrooke, Que.

"We definitely thought about that, we thought how this could be a big mark for rugby Ontario going forward and that was a big factor in what we wanted to do here," said Kelly. "We didn't want anything less than gold, but it definitely added to it."

Rugby Canada officials are hopeful since the sevens version of the game has been recommended for inclusion in the 2016 Olympics. Rugby and golf will be put forward for ratification by the full 106-member International Olympic Committee assembly in Copenhagen in October. Final approval will need a simple majority.

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