This was the 6th annual VETERANS CUP, a game that features the Canadian Forces Staff College Chambrays vs. the Royal Military College Paladins. When the RMC rugby program was reborn in the fall of 2005 one of the first contacts made was from Staff College, It seemed that they had a rugby program and were looking for a game. The agreed upon time frame would center on Rembrance day each year and would culminate with a post game social.
The match has produced some memorable moments starting with the first game on Nov 8th 2005 when after 35 min of constant rain and lightning, the temperature dropped dramatically and the game concluded on a snow covered field. The first ever recorded time out was called, when members of the Paladins were continually running over the Commandant of CFC Toronto, MGen Fraser who was playing on the wing. In the time out it was suggested that perhaps other targets of opportunity could be a better choice.
The MND Peter MacKay joined in the activities one year suiting up for Staff College as he proved to be the best player on the pitch for either side that day. Generally the game is played in excellent spirit but occasionally big hits or close communication occurs. In the second edition of the game then OCdt Vic Armes decided that a close and prolonged introduction to LCol Peter Dawe was appropriate. The introduction did not go that well for Vic. Vic followed that up the next year by being on the receiving end of a memorable crushing tackle from LCol Billy Fletcher.
The Veterans cup is for many a first introduction to rugby with the vast majority of players from the Chambrays having never played before. On occasion Staff College has been known to import some mercenaries like the time LCol John Reiffenstein; who coached at RMC for three years was brought in to steady the back line of the Chambrays only to lose the plot entirely when he noticed 6’5” 265lb Josh Whiteside lined up as his opposite number. The story goes that Coach Reiffenstein pulled his hamstring on the next play and had to leave the game…
This year’s version will be forever known as the mud bowl. Preceded by two days of rain the field was in poor condition and with near zero temperature the player’s real challenge was to keep their hands warm enough to scrap the mud out of their eyes. In the end the RMC may have once again been victorious on the field but the only score that really mattered was the new bonds formed at the post match reception.
Something special about a post rugby match
The social side of rugby is one of the key elements that makes the game special. Often this is simply a bi-product of playing – a drink, a chat and a laugh after a game.
This was certainly the case last week at the cadet mess following the annual match between RMC and Canadian Forces Staff College.