It will be the start of a new era when the rugby program at South Delta Secondary is expected to resume play in 2022.
Senior boys head coach Spencer Baines made a career change back in December, leaving his teaching position at SDSS to work for the Port of Vancouver. It was six years ago he teamed up with his brother Matt to take on the school’s junior team and guide the program through what proved to be a golden era.
The Sun Devils finished second at the 2016 junior provincials and two years later that same core led the school to its first-ever provincial senior AAA title with a win over Robert Bateman in the championship game at a sun-soaked Rotary Stadium in Abbotsford. Even with a number of key players lost to graduation, South Delta followed up that performance with a bronze medal in 2019.
The 2020 campaign was shaping up as another special one with a strong group of Grade 12s resulting in the team being added to the B.C. Secondary Schools Rugby Union’s Premier League for the very first time. It would have meant competing against some of the province’s powerhouse large and private school programs, yet still be eligible for another title at the AAA level.
Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the entire season and continued health restrictions means no 2021 campaign either.
Now with two young children, Matt Baines is expected to step back from his coaching duties which have been at the junior level during his six year tenure.
According to SDSS co-athletic director Brent Sweeney, the school may look to recent graduates to take over the coaching duties. A number of them have worked with Baines over the years. More should be known by next fall.