2nd Annual International Triangle Tour – Saturday, August 19, 2017, Winnipeg MB Canada
Host Club: Assassins RFC, Maple Grove Rugby Park
Mens Teams: Assassins, Wisconsin Sharks, Chicago Blaze, Winnipeg Wasps, U of M Wombats
Womens Teams: Assassins, Wisconsin Women, Chicago Blaze Women, Saskatoon Kirin
The second annual triangle tour commenced on August 19th, 2017, which turned out to be one of the hottest days of the summer. This year’s tour looked a little different from the inaugural tour for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the 2017 tour was located at Maple Grove Rugby Park in Winnipeg, MB. The host this year was none other than the Assassins RFC. Secondly, some teams from the previous year remained consistent, although some new competition entered the fold with the tour moving to Canada. The Chicago Blaze featuring the host clubs’ beloved friends, the Ottens and Wisconsin RC would send mens sides north to compete. Strong local clubs from Winnipeg, the Wasps and the Wombats also answered the call to join the day of rugby to provide the travelling American teams with at least two matches in the day after they each played the Assassins.
Unfortunately, no American women sides could make the trip. A former Assassin Steph Ani brought her new side the Kirin women hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to provide the Assassins women with some new competition as well. After the day was done, it was safe to say that each team involved enjoyed participating in some matches against some fresh opposition.
In regards to the type of rugby that was played, it was certainly competitive for exhibition matches as noted by some of the sides who were new to the tour in 2017. This is precisely what the Assassins were looking for and was the purpose of the tour being created. The Assassins men were forced to play defence for much of their game against the Blaze and a takeaway from the game would be how crucial discipline is when they are defending deep in their half. The Wisconsin RC, another strong side with large forwards, gave the Assassins men a strong reminder on the importance of line speed. All Assassins that were there to play, which was a number over 30 played at least a half of each game. The hosts dropped both games once again and will be looking to get their first wins of the Triangle Tour in 2018!
The Assassin women were the first team to take the field for the second leg of the Triangle Tour. They faced a combined team of the Saskatoon Kirin, Winnipeg Wasps, Saracens Rugby Club and Sturgeon Creek Rowdies. The game got off to a quick start with both teams putting points on the board early. The Assassins faced stiff competition and struggled to defend the offloads from a strong backline, going into the half down two tries. However, during the second half the Assassin women stormed back. Scoring efforts from both the back line and forward pack put the ladies up by three with minutes to go. They defeated their combined competition by a final score of 34-31.
For the day’s second match, friendship was the name of the game. The women all mixed together to play some rugby and battle the scorching afternoon sun. The game saw numerous players from each side score breakaway tries as both teams took advantage of their strong runners. With a final score separated by a singe try, it was a well fought battle on both sides that celebrated the camaraderie of the game.
The host Assassins, led by player/coach as well as tour organizer/creator Jarett Mclaughlin did what they could to ensure that this tour continues. American and Canadian ruggers alike enjoyed the post game food and drink. Following the rugby action on the pitch there was great triangle tour merchandise to be bought, races to be had and a 50/50 draw to be won. Following suit of the first tour, acknowledgments and gifts were presented by the three main clubs that organize the tour, the Blaze, Wisconsin RC and the Assassins. The night ended very early Sunday morning at the Assassins sponsor the Riverside Inn where the band Highway 59 with Assassins ties performed upstairs and karaoke was sung in the basement. It was truly a great day of rugby and camaraderie. The Assassins look forward to what’s in store for them when they descend to Cottage Grove/Madison, Wisconsin when they meet up with Marty, Petey, Buddha, Rolf, the Blaze and the hosts for the third year of the Triangle Tour!
Special thanks must go out to PAL group and MARR for providing sponsorship for the day. Thanks to Jason Conrad and Shane Nobiss for making the food. Thanks to John and Yvonne Burman with Highway 59 for entertaining everyone at the Riverside Inn. Thanks to Steph Setka for photography and to Brent Tomchuk for the use of his barbeque. Thanks to Amy Mazowita and Brenna McNulty for their numerous roles throughout the day. Also, a thanks to everyone else who pitched in to help run the day and everyone who came out to play some extra rugby!