Lions turf third-division team

Rugby: Foothills' numbers not enough for two viable men's squads

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 06:00 am

Foothills Lion Tyrell Robertson battles with a Calgary Hornet in third division Calgary Rugby Union action. The Lions opted not to field a third division side for the 2014 season.
Foothills Lion Tyrell Robertson battles with a Calgary Hornet in third division Calgary Rugby Union action. The Lions opted not to field a third division side for the 2014 season.
Wheel File Photo

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It’s down to one for the Foothills Lions Senior men.

The rugby club was forced to not field a third division team to go along with its existing side in the second division ranks due to a lack of player registration for the 2014 season in the Calgary Rugby Union.

“We don’t believe that at this point we have enough numbers to run two sides,” said Lions club coach Jim Ryan. “At this point we’ve got 35 guys registered and there is just no way you can run two sides with that amount of guys.”

Players more suited to a third division role, those with age no longer on their side or with inexperience on the pitch, will continue to fill in with the Lions.

Moreover, an arrangement was worked out with the CCIAC (Calgary Canadian Irish Athletic Club) to accommodate Lions void of playing time and opportunity.

“Some of our thirds guys if they don’t get selected, we’ve got a deal with the Calgary Irish that they’re going to play and get some game time with them, but for the most part, we’re just going to have the one side,” Ryan said. “We don’t have that many guys that should just play thirds, we have a couple of the older guys. And they’re really okay with just getting a game on a Friday with someone else casually.

“If we run into some injuries they can slot in later in the season and their bodies will actually be fresh instead of beaten up for a full season. A bunch of them are actually looking forward to not having to play that much until August and September.”

Since re-establishing the senior men’s program in 2010, the Lions were a fixture in the CRU’s third division. In those four years, the Lions twice made the postseason including a rebound campaign in 2013.

Foothills added a second division side to the fold in 2012.

Ryan conceded the lack of a more introductory men’s team could hurt recruiting, especially for those new to the sport and not wanting to jump directly into the murky waters of highly competitive second division rugby.

“It will make it hard, but we will bring those guys in to train with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays because really the most important thing for new guys is training,” Ryan said.

“Then we will just make sure they get a game with the Irish on a Friday.”

For more information go to foothillslionsrugbyclub.com


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