Lucas Rumball, left, and Michael Douros, teammates with the Senator O’Connor Blues rugby squad, also team up with Canada’s under-17 national team. Photo by Evan Boudreau

National team experience aids high school squad

  • April 29, 2012

TORONTO - Two Toronto Catholic District School Board students and teammates with the Senator O’Connor Blues have made their debuts with Canada’s under-17 national rugby team.

“I’m honoured to be selected. It’s a real accomplishment for me,” said Lucas Rumball, 16, who scored his first international try against Belgium while touring the United Kingdom recently with Team Canada. “It was exhilarating. I pounded it in.”

Rumball shared his international glory during the first two weeks of April with Michael Douros, 17. The students now plan to apply their international experience to the Blues for the team’s season.

“Every practice you’re going to try and critique all your teammates, help them out,” said Douros, who plays flyhalf. “Just tell them what they’re doing wrong and hopefully they can bring it and spread it to their friends.”

As a flyhalf, the linking position between the forward pack, scrumhalf and backs, Douros plays a pivotal role in the offensive distribution of the ball. For him, the two most essential skills he improved upon while donning red and white are also two of the most basic — mental preparation and passing.

“I learned to be mentally prepared. You’re going to practice how you’ll play and you’re going to warm up how you play so you’ve got to be into it right from the start,” said Douros, admitting that this attitude isn’t as easy to pass on as a ball.

So that’s what he’s been focusing on with his high school team since returning.

“It’s the most basic skill that you need,” said Douros.

But flash isn’t what his forward counterpart looks to bring back to the Blues.

With a name like Rumball, O’Connor’s big eight man and alternate flanker, it should be no surprise that smooth passes and clear thinking are of secondary importance to him. First and foremost it’s about the hits.

“We need to have more confidence in our teammates to make a tackle. We crowd the ball too much,” said Rumball, who agreed with Douros that patience is a virtue.

This mature balance between a desire to push the team’s abilities while respecting player’s limitations is admired by their coach, teacher and father to one.

“As a coach you want to maximize the program. You want to bring the program up to the level of the best kids,” said Paul Douros, Blues’ coach since 1987. “Some of the kids aren’t at that level though, they don’t know the game like them.

“So there is a lot of pressure on these guys. How do you balance being that, being the leaders but also respecting the level of the other guys?”

For now it seems Rumball and Douros have struck the necessary balance with their high school teammates.

“They’re really supportive of us,” said Rumball. “They like to learn from what we’ve learned and they’re trying to put it into the games we play.”

Despite committing 24 days to the national club already this year, both Rumball and Douros have maintained honour roll averages of 90 and 85 respectively.

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