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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ontario Wins Gold at Canada Summer Games- Rugby

Gotta give a shout out to fellow hometown native,Lucas Hoppe,from Omemee!

Ontario's under-18 rugby team defeated British Columbia 24-18 to capture the gold medal at the Canada Summer Games in Summerside, P.E.I. on Saturday.It was a tense, suspense filled game, as Ontario faced British Columbia in the final match. Ontario's men's rugby team earned a 57-11 semi-final victory over Newfoundland and Labrador. British Columbia walloped Alberta 70-0 in their semi-final on Thursday.In round-robin action, B.C. and Ontario played to a 7-7 draw.  BC and Ontario were undefeated throughout the competition. 

Ontario includes Omemee's Lucas Hoppe, Lakefield's Tyler Ardron and Burleigh Falls' Cody MacLeod.

Six-foot-one, 250-pound Hoppe was named to Rugby Canada's national men's under-17 team, Entering Grade 12 at Thomas A. Stewart this fall, Hoppe who turned 17 on Canada Day, plays the prop position with the 26 member national Team Canada squad.


"It feels pretty good, it's pretty cool," said Hoppe, 17, a prop player who saw about 20 minutes of action in game as a reserve.

B. C. opened the scoring with a three-point kick, but Ontario responded with a try and convert for a 7-3 lead and extended it to 14-3 by halftime. In the second half, two Ontario  players received yellow cards so they were down to 13 players which allowed B. C. to pull to within 14-10. After one player returned, Ontario managed to hang on for the victory at Three Oaks Senior High School.

"If you look at the statistics then maybe it was an upset because they've won a lot more championships than us, but I think we all knew we could beat B. C.," said Hoppe. "To us, we don't think it was an upset."

Entering the final, both teams were undefeated. They settled for a 7-7 tie in the round-robin.

"We weren't as nervous and we just did everything right that we needed to do," Hoppe said. "We didn't play an amazing game, we just didn't make mistakes. That was definitely the difference between the two games.

"We began eight months ago training as a team and beating B. C. in the final was our goal," he added.

Ardron, 18, a lock, played the entire contest. MacLeod, 17, suffered a shoulder injury two games earlier and did not play in the final, says Hoppe.

The victory is somewhat bittersweet, however.

Ontario's first Canada Games gold medal in rugby  could be its  last. since the sport isn't scheduled to be in the next Games in Sherbrooke, Que., in 2013. Seven-man rugby is a recommendation for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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