Players pumped for P.E.I.

Todd Pruner
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P.A.-area rugby trio eager to compete at Canada Summer Games next week

The event three Prince Albert area rugby players have been waiting for is about to arrive.

Players pumped for P.E.I.

The event three Prince Albert area rugby players have been waiting for is about to arrive.

Peter LeMessurier and Dylan Boleski of Prince Albert as well as Jon Bati of Birch Hills will play for Team Saskatchewan in Prince Edward Island at the Canada Summer Games. The team will play its first two games on Monday.

"I'm super pumped," the 17-year-old Bati said Tuesday. "It should be an awesome experience."

Coach Arnie Maier of Regina said he started assembling the team more than three years ago and has been gearing up for the event ever since.

"This is the first time that we've had a group together at this age group for this kind of time period, on and off, picking kids up over the last 3 1/2 years and working with them," he said.

This summer, the team played a co-ed team from Saskatoon, a men's team from Regina and a two-game set in Brandon against the Manitoba provincial team headed for P.E.I.

LeMessurier played in all the games except the one in Regina. He said Saskatchewan won all three he played in, and he thinks the fourth was won as well.

"The first game (against Manitoba), we won by two, I think," LeMessurier said. "It was a little sloppy. In the second game, we won by a pretty big margin. But when we were there, we didn't have a lot of our starters. They couldn't make it, so there were a lot of people out of position and stuff."

Bati couldn't play in the games, because he was with his family on a vacation back to his father's home country of Fiji. While there, Bati played with a men's provincial team called Buavou for the first time, to stay sharp.

Back in April, the Saskatchewan team played several games against youth teams in the rugby hotbed of England.

For final preparations, the team has been together in Regina since Monday, holding two practices per day, one from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and another from 4-6 p.m.

"They've been OK," said LeMessurier, who graduated from Prince Albert Collegiate Institute in June. "It's been super, super hot down here, but I guess that kind of adds to the training aspect of it."

Maier said the team is very fit and he feels good about their chances.

"My expectation is that we will medal at the Canada Games," he said. "We have a good enough team that, if they play well enough as a unit, we should be able to pick up a medal."

The teams are divided into two pools of five for preliminary play. Saskatchewan plays P.E.I., Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the round robin.

Organizations: Prince Albert, Prince Albert Collegiate Institute, Canada Games

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Regina, Canada Prince Edward Island Manitoba Birch Hills Saskatoon Brandon Fiji England New Brunswick Nova Scotia

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