The Williams Lake Rustlers Rugby Football Club will rumble into this weekend’s Annual Stampede Rugby Tournament with momentum on its side.
The team asserted its dominance last Saturday during a 17-0 shutout victory over the visiting Prince George Gnats at the Ottoman Drive rugby fields.
Rustlers new head coach Braden McCallum — who moved to Williams Lake from Nova Scotia with his wife and one-year-old son last August — said he thought the effort from his players on the pitch was outstanding.
“It was a great win for us,” McCallum said. “We’re definitely improving. And as a new coach coming in I’ve brought in some new offensive systems and a new way of playing and the guys are buying into it and slowly starting to feel more comfortable.
“We’re getting better and better each game.”
The weekend prior Williams Lake scored a 12-8 win in Prince George over the Gnats, after dropping its first game in Terrace late May, 27-19.
To date, the Rustlers have amassed a two-win, one-loss record on the campaign.
The team has one more league game left — a home tilt with Terrace on Saturday, July 25 at the Ottoman Drive rugby fields.
As for the Stampede Rugby Tournament, McCallum said so far seven teams have registered in the men’s division.
“We’re [the Rustlers] looking to put two teams in to bring it up to eight teams,” McCallum said.
In the women’s division eight teams will also vie for the coveted Stampede belt buckle.
Games go all day Saturday and all day Sunday, with semifinals and finals slated for Sunday afternoon.
There will be a licensed beer garden open Friday night beginning at 7 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday the beer garden opens at 11 a.m.
Rugby players from Lake City secondary will also be on site running a concession, along with Rustlers club members.
McCallum, meanwhile, said he’s heard tales of epic Stampede Rugby Tournaments of years past. This year will be his first time attending the tournament.
“I’ve heard great stories,” he said. “I’m very keen for my first Stampede, but also as a coach trying to see if we can win this year.
“We have the talent and the skill. We just need to play like we can and we should do alright.”