The Brandon Barbarians are Manitoba Cup champions.
The Barbs’ Division 1 men’s rugby team claimed the Cup with a 51-31 victory over the University of Manitoba Wombats on Sunday in Winnipeg.
"We came out pretty flat in the first half," Barbarians coach Jon Fitzpatrick said. "We were down by two at the half and we brought it in at half-time and talked to each other a bit and came out in the second half with the energy we needed to do what we had to do. We answered really well. Whenever they pressured us or scored we answered right back and we scored, so we’re really quite happy with that and to win in a pretty convincing fashion."
Frank Jones had three tries for Brandon, with Clement Lepage adding two. Sheldon Kowalchuk, Shane Morgan and Fitzpatrick also scored tries for the Barbarians, with Sean Common booting four conversions and a penalty kick.
The victory allows the Barbarians to enter the regular season after rolling through the Cup with a 4-0 record, and Fitzpatrick said that should give the players plenty of confidence plus the knowledge they can be even better by tightening up their game.
"The Wombats always play us hard; they’re a big, physical team," Fitzpatrick said. "We matched up and once we started playing, we were dominant. They couldn’t do much against us. The tries they scored were fairly weak and it was just mental lapses on our part essentially. Except for one, they had one try they earned, but the rest were tries we essentially gave them."
On Saturday, the Barbarians women’s team and Division 2 men’s squad rolled to regular-season victories over the Sturgeon Creek Rowdies in Winnipeg.
Jamee George had four tries as the Barbarian women rallied from an early 12-0 deficit to beat the Rowdies 53-31 in a battle of undefeated teams. Stephanie Dornn had a try and four conversions, while Kayla Bauche added two tries. Cass Lesiuk and Dory Holt had the other tries for Brandon, which improved to 4-0, while Sturgeon Creek slipped to 3-1.
The Brandon Division 2 men won their season opener 61-17, led by a try and four conversions from Andrew Ritchie. Andy Halliday and Todd Steeden scored two tries apiece for the Barbarians, while Andy Cooper, Cory Kelly, Matt Haynes, Stewart Dyck and Braden DeMontigny also grounded the ball for Brandon tries.
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