Strong season for ARFC teams

U-18 women win fifth straight provincial title, senior men undefeated

ARFC's Jake Thiel rumbles forward with the ball from a game earlier this year.

There’s a dynasty brewing in the Abbotsford rugby community.

For the fifth straight year, the Abbotsford Rugby Football Club U-18 women’s team are provincial champions. The club capped off its undefeated season on Nov. 29 with a 22-5 win over the Castaway Winders from Victoria.

The team clinched the provincial title on Nov. 22, after defeating a team made up of the top players from all over the Lower Mainland. Head coach Jen Ross has been at the helm of the U-18 club for all five years and said she’s proud of the team.

“I’ve been so proud of the effort my girls have put forward,” she said. “They’ve been working hard and we’ve had between 20 to 30 girls come out for practices twice a week since August.”

Ross, who played competitive rugby for 25 years, said the system in Abbotsford helps produce excellent players.

“A lot of things contribute to it,” she said. “It’s a great cycle because the high schools here all have strong programs and good coaching. We all work hard in the Fraser Valley region to get these girls involved. The schools feed into the clubs and the clubs feed into the schools. We’re all very supportive of each other.”

Ross said the ARFC fall season allows players to join their school teams in the spring to develop under different rugby minds.

It’s also been a season to remember for the ARFC as a whole, with both the division one and division two men’s teams undefeated after 18 games.

The division one men’s club outscored the opposition 454-103, and were led by rookie Jake Thiel, who scored 17 tries in his nine games. Division one player Kurtis Appeldoorn added 13 tries as the team’s second leading scorer.

The club finished the fall season with a 58-15 win over Bayside RFC. Scoring tries were: Nate Sandhu, Lee Helm, Jake Thiel (four), Tom Rennie (two), Kurtis Appeldoorn, and Trent Bourke. Connor Hunter made four successful converts.

The division two men’s club outscored its opposition 339-105, with leading scorer Zach Choboter scoring 11 tries, and Noah Jensen adding six tries.

The club finished with a 66-17 win over Bayside. Scoring tries were: Thomas Agafonow, Jesse Jamieson, Dilpreet Chahal, Chris Combs, Scott Giebelhaus, Zach Choboter (two), Solomon Puckey, Byron Toutant and Nick de Brouwer. Puckey made five successful converts and also connected on two penalty kicks.

The ARFC division one women’s team also finished an undefeated fall season with an exclamation mark, beating Comox 99-0.

The U-18 men’s team came up short in its bid for a provincial title, falling 35-27 to the Ravens to close out the fall season.

The senior teams return to the pitch in January. For more information on the ARFC, visit abbotsfordrugby.com.

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