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April 6, 2016. 5:01 pm
Courtesy of the Province - Howard Tsumara
Link to original article

VANCOUVER — B.C. high school football has its own championship-game television deal, a featured venue for its finals at B.C. Place Stadium, and a key corporate sponsor in Subway.

B.C. boys high school basketball has brought all four tiers of its Telus-sponsored provincial championship tournament to its new home at the Langley Events where its crowds are on the rise.

B.C. high school rugby isn’t blind to the success of its fall- and winter-sport cousins. In fact, the B.C. Secondary Schools Rugby Union isn’t shy to admit that it has some catching up to do in the areas of self-promotion.

 

And that’s why, when the need for an interlocking, cross-zone schedule became especially essential this season based on the changes they were making to both their tiering and playoff seeding systems, there was a realization that with a little imagination, one could end up helping the other.

“(High school) football and basketball have been ahead of us in doing a really good job of promoting their sport and their product,” said BCSSRU commisioner Walter van Halst. “So I think our Stadium Series will not only give us the most accurate way possible to rank our teams at the end of the season, it will also help us raise the profile and professionalism of our sport.”

To that end, the series, set to run over the April 22-23 and May 6-7 weekends, creates key non-conference match-ups in some of the sport’s most provincially-traditional venues at spectator-friendly times.

“Typically, a high school rugby game is played on a weekday at 3:30 (p.m.) when most of those who would attend are productively employed,” said van Halst, whose association worked diligently to get as many games as possible on grass fields in lighted venues with sufficient seating.

When the series kicks off on April 22, two of the key games that day will be an evening double-header at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium. Abbotsford’s Yale Lions clash with Victoria’s Oak Bay Barbarians at 5 p.m., followed by Surrey’s Earl Marriott Mariners facing the Handsworth Royals of North Vancouver at 7 p.m.

It’s the first step in what is hoped will be a elevated level of interest for its sport.

BC HIGH SCHOOL RUGBY

STADIUM SERIES 2016

APRIL 22

(At Burnaby-Swangard Stadium)

5 p.m. — Yale vs. Oak Bay, 7 p.m. — Earl Marriott vs. Handsworth (At North Vancouver-Klahanie Park)
4 p.m. — West Vancouver vs. Kelowna, G.P. Vanier vs. Elgin Park
5:30 p.m. — Argyle vs. Cowichan, Prince of Wales vs. Claremont (At North Vancouver-Sutherland)
4 p.m. — Sutherland vs. G.W. Graham

APRIL 23

(At Vancouver-St. George’s)
11:30 a.m. — Lord Tweedsmuir vs. Lord Byng; 1 p.m. — Shawnigan Lake vs. Carson Graham; 2:30 p.m. — St. George’s vs. St. Michaels University School

(At Swangard Stadium)
5 p.m. — Collingwood vs. Brentwood College; 7 p.m. — Robert Bateman vs. Rockridge

(At Surrey-Southridge School)
1 p.m. — Glenlyon Norfolk vs. D.W. Poppy; 3 p.m. — Abbotsford vs. Southridge

MAY 6

(At Kelowna Secondary)
3 p.m. — Handsworth vs. Kelowna

(At University of Victoria)
4:30 p.m. — St. Michaels University School vs. Collingwood; 6 p.m. — Oak Bay vs. St George’s

(At Abbotsford-Rotary Stadium)
2 p.m. — Robert Bateman vs. Carson Graham, 3:15 p.m. — Yale vs. Prince of Wales, 4:30 p.m. — Elgin Park vs. West Vancouver

(At Langley-DW Poppy)
4 p.m. — DW Poppy vs. Sutherland

MAY 7

(At Shawnigan Lake)
12:30 p.m. — Glenlyon Norfolk vs. Southridge, Brentwood College vs. Rockridge; 2 p.m. — Claremont vs. Lord Byng, Cowichan vs. Lord Tweedsmuir, St. Michaels University School vs. Abbotsford; 3:30 p.m. — GP Vanier vs. Argyle, Shawnigan Lake vs. Earl Marriott