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Clippers win first rugby title

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For the first time in its history, the Dauphin Clippers girls rugby team are Westman High School Rugby Varsity 7s champions.
The Clippers won the title by going 4-0 in the final jamboree of the season, last Tuesday in Brandon, finishing with an 11-1 record.
The day began with a game against Rivers, the team which beat the Clippers, 15-5, on their home field just two days prior to the Brandon jamboree.
Dauphin had to beat Rivers and win their other games by several tries, to have a chance to secure the first rugby championship in school history. The Clippers accomplished that with a 19-5 victory over Rivers and then they went on to beat Vincent Massey no. 1, 22-10, Crocus Plains, 47-0 and Vincent Massey no. 2, 47-0.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for the girls. But, as the season continues on, it’s just a milestone in a series of milestones that we hope to have,” said Clippers coach Mandy Carberry.
With regionals on the weekend in Winnipeg, Carberry said the games in Brandon felt like practices for regionals.
“Because the regionals are a pretty big deal, as well,” she added.
Thirteen of the Clippers are on the Parkland Pirates U15 and U17 regional teams.
Although there was still a chance for Rivers to finish in a tie with the Clippers, in the end it did not matter, as Rivers lost their final game, 15-14 to Souris, finishing the season at 10-2.
Carberry said it was good to get the game against Rivers out of the way early, because the Clippers lost to Rivers in their home jamboree.
“Which was a pretty big loss for us. First of all, being on our home turf and then the fact that we hadn’t had any losses. And then it was our opening day for our own field as a Parkland team,” she said.
“So it was nice to have the win. It was a great game to watch.”
The Clippers, Carberry added, put everything into place they had done in practice over the last month-and-a-half, as well as some additional coaching on the bus ride to Brandon, which led to the team’s success.
“They played fantastic. They’re playing next level rugby,” she said.
One of the keys to the team’s success is ballance when it comes to scoring. Carberry said everyone is finding the end zone.
“It’s not just a one-woman show. We’ve got everybody scoring. Everybody is participating on the field, There isn’t anybody that isn’t working hard. Everyone is working equally as hard for the win,” she said, adding all the girls want to play at a high level.
Carberry’s husband Rodney coached the Clippers the last several years, though she assisted him along the way. When he decided to coach the U17 boys at the regional level, Carberry stepped up to take over as head coach of the Clippers girls and is now reaping the benefits of Rodney’s teachings.
For the 15s season in the spring, Rodney will coach the Clippers boys, assisted by Edgar Estrada, while Mandy will coach the girls, assisted by Becky McGregor.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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