MacDowellRugby 2017 Year in Review

2017 marked an exciting year for MacDowellRugby. In recognition of MacDowellRugby's first year, we would like to share some highlights from 2017, before ringing in the new year!

 

APRIL

MacDowellRugby Academy Kicks Off

MacDowellRugby launched the MacDowellRugby Academy, coaching over 30 athletes from across Saskatchewan over a period of 8 weeks.

The Academy coaching staff, led by Robin MacDowell, is comprised of University of Regina Cougars athletes, as well as various club players from around Regina.

The Academy was also fortunate to have a guest join one of the sessions: CFL Roughrider and recent international Rugby 7s convert, Tevaughn Campbell. Tevaughn had recently returned from the Singapore 7s, where the Canadian national men's team pulled off a historic gold medal victory.

Lucky for us and the athletes, he was kind enough to pose with his gold medal with everyone!

 

MAY

MacDowellRugby Elite VII First Tournament Win

MacDowellRugby Elite VII after winning the Ryback 7s championship in over-time (from L to R: Nishant Jain, Robin MacDowell, Eamon Milligan, Mitchell Novak, Billy Howden, PJ Mancao, Mike Clarke, Marcus Hall, Dylan Turner, Dustin Nedohin, Mark Roney, Brayden Firth, Demitri Hofer, Jaskaran Singh, Brett Kannenberg)

The MacDowellRugby Elite VII team entered into their first 7s tournament at the Regina Ryback 7s, going undefeated the entire tournament. The team was a young group of some of the best university, club, and even high school players in Regina, averaging roughly 22 years of age. Below is the team roster and staff:

Eamon Milligan (18 years old)

Marcus Hall (21 years old)

Jaskaran Singh (19 years old)

Billy Howden (20 years old)

Mike Clarke (C) (23 years old)

Mark Roney (27 years old)

Dustin Nedohin (22 years old)

PJ Mancao (18 years old)

Brayden Firth (23 years old)

Demitry Hofer (26 years old)

Mitchell Novak (18 years old)

Dylan Turner (23 years old)

Head Coach: Robin MacDowell

Assistant Coach: Brett Kannenberg

Manager: Nishant Jain

MacDowellRugby Find Continued Success in Alberta

Edmonton Rugby Fest victors, MacDowellRugby Elite VII. Composed of players from Saskatchewan, Ontario, British Columbia, and even Mexico.

The MacDowellRugby Elite VII found further success by once again going undefeated at the Edmonton Rugby Fest tournament in Edmonton, AB. The team was composed of highly talented players from across Canada as well as Mexico national team player, Gonzalo "Meno" Fleitas. The team was very fortunate have the expertise of Canadian legend and captain for the Canadian Rugby World Cup team of 1991, Mark Wyatt. Mark had this to say about his experience working with MacDowellRugby:

"After receiving an invitation from Robin to assist with a MacDowellRugby Elite team taking part in the Edmonton Rugby Fest, I accepted and packed my bag. Along with his committed and capable entourage of Brettski and Nish, they pulled together a collection of players from Saskatchewan, Ontario, BC, Mexico (yeah, Meno) and Williams Lake (Nathan, not sure if the rest of the province has acknowledged your hometown).

Arriving mid-afternoon Friday, May 19th I waited for Robin at the hotel. Once he checked in I hopped in his van that was full of Sask boys who had left at 5:30am from Regina – yikes. When we arrived at the field I soon discovered that the BC guys had driven overnight to arrive in Edmonton a few hours before the first game. Due to my advanced years, that was out of the question and the 2 hour flight from Victoria was just right!

Shaking off travel legs, the boys cruised to their first victory and it was clear this was a talented group who would gel after a couple of games. Dinner followed and it was a quiet night. Saturday’s fixtures went the same way and with a deep bench, and talented players, and the boys delivered – entering Sunday as the number one seed. Our semi-final went according to plan and the boys were operating as team. While the final was a comfortable win, we were pushed as the opposition had bolstered its ranks after witnessing the strength of the team during the prelims. After a patchy first half, the boys knew what was expected and how to deliver – and deliver they did. A lopsided second half saw us step comfortably into the winner’s circle. Exercising common sense (for once) I opted to catch an earlier flight, abandoning the post-tournament festivities.

After the initial invitation, I debated whether or not I wanted to give up the long-weekend. I have been watching MacDowellRugby slowly build its brand and it had captured enough of my interest to fly out and assist. It is quite a testament that Robin, Brettski, and Nish had managed to convince two groups of 20 something year-old men, separated by 1800km of pavement to meet in the middle on the May long weekend, and in Edmonton (with the bugs)! It was clear to me that