The Rocky Mountain Rogues are getting ready to defend their title at the Saratoga Cup.
The tournament will be held at Vernon Rugby Club on Sept. 7-8 as four teams will battle it out for the championship.
“We are pumped,” said Byron Garrels, coach. “We are looking forward to going back there and hopefully retaining the championship.”
With the confidence from last year after winning, Garrels said he thinks the team has a great chance again this year.
“We won last year, so there’s no reason why we can’t go back and put our best foot forward and hopefully win again,” he said.
The Saratoga Cup is contested by teams from three regions: The Okanagan, the Kootenays and the Interior. The other teams vying for the championship this year is the Vernon Rugby Club, Elk Valley RFC and the Terrace Northmen Rugby Club. The Rogues got a bye into the Cup because they are defending champions.
While it’s going to be a tough road to retain their championship, Garrels said the Rogues really stand out in their attack.
“We have very good attacking players who can score lots of points when we are playing our best rugby,” he said.
To get ready for the tournament, Garrels said the team has been getting back into practice after a bit of a break.
“We just started training again at the end of the last week or so. For the summer most people have holidays and it’s too hot really to be training, so we are just firing it up now and we will training for about a month and off we go,” he said.
The focus of the training has been getting in playing shape.
“Just our fitness and our skills,” said Garrels. “We got a new scrum machine, so we are going to be using that.”
LOOK BACK: Rocky Mountain Rogues win Saratoga Cup
Brayden Farquhar, joined the Rogues after finishing up his high school rugby career in May, he said he’s excited to be able to help the team defend their title.
“It will be pretty cool,” he said. “I’m looking forward to going back, I know last year they were the champions, so if they can bring back the title again for two years in a row that will be pretty good.”
The collective passion and fight were some of the important aspects Farquhar says that make up the roster.
“We are all hardworking and we want to win,” he said. “A lot of teams when they get down by a couple they want to roll over but not us. If we are down it gives us a better opportunity to keep moving forward.”
There is no game plan for the Rogues since the team has only been able to play against Elk Valley this year.
“You don’t really know those teams, we don’t see them all year, so it’s not like we can game plan. It’s more focusing on what we can do and control what we can control. Play our best rugby, hopefully, that should be good enough,” said Garrels.
There are between 17-25 guys that make up the Rogues, and Garrels says it all depends on if they have prior to commitments.
“We are always looking for more players if anybody is around that’s played rugby or wants to learn, they are welcome to come out Tuesdays and Thursdays to training,” he explained.
Tuesday training is at Marysville Elementary School at 7 p.m., while on Thursdays the club trains at the College of the Rockies at 7 p.m. More information can be found on their website or on Facebook.
“I would encourage everybody to give it a shot,” added Garrels.