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Rugby players pleased by Highlanders progress

By: Lucas Punkari

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 17, 2014 10:28 am

Airdrie Highlanders Gareth Post ran his way around a scrum during a game against the Calgary Hornets at George McDougall High School on July 12.
Airdrie Highlanders Gareth Post ran his way around a scrum during a game against the Calgary Hornets at George McDougall High School on July 12.
Lucas Punkari/Rocky View Publishing

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After taking its lumps in its first month of play, the Airdrie Highlanders is making its presence felt in the Calgary Rugby Union (CRU) men’s division three league.

Although the Highlanders have a 1-7 record, following a 49-39 loss to the Calgary Hornets at George McDougall High School in Airdrie on July 12, the newly formed club team has been in tightly contested games over the last month.

“It’s been crazy to see how much we have been progressing and improving in every game that we have played,” Highlanders fullback Patrick Faith said.

“It was a little rough when we started out as we got blown away by the other teams, but we’ve become a lot more experienced as the season’s gone along,” he added.

“Since we’ve played more, we’ve began to gel as a team, and that’s allowed us to become better players as a result.”

The Highlanders picked up its first CRU win on June 28 in Calgary, as it defeated the Calgary Rams by a score of 34-21, which came a week after it lost a 19-15 thriller to the Calgary Saracens in Airdrie on June 21.

“We lost that game in Airdrie in the last 45 seconds, but we felt like we did really well that day, and we wanted to carry that momentum over into our game with the Rams,” Highlanders captain Gareth Post said.

“We dominated in the scrums against the Rams, and that was a key part in us getting the win.”

“It was a pretty exciting feeling for us,” Faith added. “A lot of us went to the Airdrie Pro Rodeo that night to celebrate our success, so it was a pretty memorable day for the guys on the team.”

As a 17-year rugby veteran, Post has played on a number of different teams in Calgary and his hometown of Milton Keynes, England, but he said he’s never seen a squad come together as a group as fast as the Highlanders have.

“Even though this is a new sport to Airdrie, the players that have come out here and are either new to sport or haven’t played in a long time are progressing better than some guys who have played the sport for years,” Post said.

“Some of the players here have experience of playing football in high school and transferring that over to here, and I think that’s helping them get over the hump,” he added.

The Highlanders will look to get back to its winning ways on July 19 in Calgary, when it will be looking to get the upper hand over the Calgary Saracens in a 12 p.m. game at the Calgary Rugby Union Field.

“We’ve settled into a groove now, and now that we are playing the Saracens again, we will be trying to get the win there,” Post said.

“We always want to do better every time that we play, and if we do that, we can be in the playoff mix once the season wraps up in September.”

The next home game for the Airdrie Highlanders will take place on Aug. 9 at 2 p.m. when the Calgary Canucks will pay a visit to George McDougall High School.


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