OAKVILLE, Ont. - During Sheridan's annual Welcome Back event in the last week of August, the Sheridan Bruins men's rugby team had the opportunity to walk on stage in front of an auditorium filled with staff and faculty to be recognized for their achievement. The ensuing standing ovation was certainly an exhilarating moment, but it also marked the final opportunity to celebrate the team's first title.
"It was a really cool experience, but that was the last chapter in the 2017 book," head coach Rick Bria said. "Now we're all business looking ahead to this year."
Sheridan will begin its 2018 campaign tomorrow, hosting Conestoga (3pm). Among the group of key returning players for the Bruins will be three of their four OCAA All-Stars from a year ago, with Jad Hamade, Tristian Hylton, and Justin Tota back in Double Blue. That's not to say that Sheridan won't have some key pieces to replace as Owen Schimpl, JP Munro, Matt DaCosta, and Alex McCallion have all moved on.
But they do possess strong experience up front, and Bria says that all of the projected starting forwards played for a club team throughout the summer, many of them at an extremely high level. With the combination of skilled OCAA veterans alongside athletic and talented newcomers, Bria believes his team is well positioned to be in the mix once again.
"We know how much work went into getting this team to a championship level and we know it will take even more to be able to stay there," he said. "There are a lot of good teams in our league, so nothing is guaranteed in terms of results. But I can guarantee you that everyone in our locker room is prepared to work even harder than last year."