The 2013 Season so far

Upcoming Events

Cowichan Rugby Club Christmas Party

Friday, December 13th @ 7:30 pm.

Some of our Sponsors

Eric Miener Dentistry
Brentwood College School
Dodd’s Lumber
Good Used Cars

Our Social Members to date

H. Gerwing Member since 2000

C. Evans Member since 1999

A. Hutchins Member since 1967

J. Hourihan member since 2005

E. Hourihan member since 2005

Please see John James or Sherry Spence if you would like to support the Cowichan Rugby Club by way of Social Membership.

Men’s Win/Loss record to date

1st Div Men Times Cup: 6-0  League done, won Times Cup.
1st Div Men Cowichan Cup: 3-2 (Next game Feb 1st vs Port Alberni at home, schedule will be posted this month)
2nd Div Men NVIRU Championship Round: 6-0-1

Men’s Teams overall record this fall: 15-2-1

Times Cup Champions

Cowichan’s 1st Division Men defeated Velox on a mucky and wet November 30 and at the end of the game collected the 81 year old Times Cup. The Times Cup is the culmination of being undefeated in the 8 team Vancouver Island league this fall.

Cowichan put out another competitive side despite having to sit many starters due to injury, work and other reasons. This time of year always poses challenges for all clubs. This year, with our sense of purpose as a vibrant rugby club now on track, having to field a full team of 22 players for an away game is a bit easier.

Kevin Rothebaur or the Cowichan Valley Citizen’s article’

For the first time in several years, the Times Colonist Cup is coming to the Cowichan Valley. With one week still remaining in the season, the Cowichan Piggies secured the cup – contested by all of the First Division men’s teams on Vancouver Island – with their fifth consecutive win in the series. Cowichan needed a win with a bonus point – awarded for scoring four or more tries – and did just that with a 24-5 win over Velox Academy last Saturday. “It was important for us,” said Cowichan head coach Gord McGeachy. “It kind of validated the improvements we have made as a club. Last year we went 0-5 or 0-6 [in the Times Cup], and in a matter of 12 months, to run through it undefeated, that’s satisfying for the senior players, and me a coach, and our supporters.” McGeachy attributed the turnaround in part to some new additions to the team, but even more to the increased dedication of the veteran Piggies. “Generally, there has been more commitment from the young players,” he said. “We’ve had increased numbers, and more players out to training. Guys know that if they’re out for a couple of weeks, there’s somebody waiting to fill their spot. It keeps everybody on their toes.” For the game against Velox Academy, Cowichan had planned to institute a “conservative” game plan, using their kicking and defence to take advantage of the wet, muddy field. That plan went out the window right away, however, as the Piggies ran for an 80-metre try, finished off by Owen Wood. Almost immediately, Andrew Wright added another long-range try, then a second. Finally, good work by the forward pack led to the fourth try, completed by Rob MacDonnell. Wood also converted Cowichan’s first two tries. That was the quarter of the game. “At the 20-minute mark, we had the bonus point wrapped up, and that was pretty much the end of the good rugby,” McGeachy said. “We managed to hang through the second half.” It was a good thing the Piggies scored their four tries while they could, because the quality of rugby deteriorated along with the Velox pitch as the game went on. “It’s a horrendously poor field,” McGeachy said. “As the weather got worse, the mistakes piled up. Hanging onto the ball and passing became a bit of a chore.” The Piggies have one game left in the Times Cup series, against the second place UVic Norsemen. It’s too late for Cowichan to give up any ground in the standings, but McGeachy doesn’t think there will be any problem with motivating his team. “It’s the last game before the winter break, so we definitely want to go out on a positive note,” he said. “UVic is a great team, so it will be a challenging game, for sure.” 

Celebration started at the Velox Clubhouse with the trophy presentation by VIRU VP John Lyall and food hosted by Velox. The bus then continued north and onto the club where further celebration took place.  A great win and a great Times Cup Victory!

Step 1:  Challenge and win the Times Cup.
Step 2:  Challenge and win the Cowichan Cup this Spring
Step 3:  Challenge and win the BC 1st Division Championship.
Step 1 of 3 for this season accomplished.

Message from the Head Coach, Great result on the weekend for our 1st team, a solid 24-5 victory over Velox Academy to secure the Times Colonist Cup!! Our progress the last calendar year has been nothing short of phenomenal, and definitely something that every member of our club should be extremely proud of!

U18 Girls BC Finalist

Congratulations to our Cowichan U-18 Girls. They were finalists to Abbotsford in the BC Championships and received the Silver Medal.  Special thanks to the group that made this happen. Brad & Alanna Skene, Marius Felix, Steve Cowie and others.  A healthy club has strength everywhere!

Congratulations to Brad and Alanna Skene as recipiants of an award from the City of Duncan for their volunteer work in the community towards local rugby.

JJ’s Musings

The club’s goal this season was to challenge for the championships as they come.  The Times Cup was the first championship on the radar screen, goal achieved.

The next goal for Cowichan Men’s Rugby is the Cowichan Cup.  The Cowichan Cup is the stepping stone to the BC Championships.  Cowichan is in good shape at 3-2 in Cowichan Cup competition.  With 4 teams all within 5 points of each other in the standings and 11 local games to play, Cowichan is in position to make the playoffs and host throughout. The winner of the Cowichan Cup will then host the #2 Mainland side in late April and the winner of that game advances to the BC Championship final.  Making the BC finals is our 3rd goal this season.

So, there’s lots to play for and lots of good challenging games coming up so lets have some fun.

2nd (or 3rd depending on the day or who they are playing) Men

The Men’s22nd XV are now 6-0-1 after CW conceded forfeit to Cowichan last week. The 2nd XV are looking good and if we can stay with it this Spring, a NVIRU 3rd Div Championship is there for the taking and then to move onto the BC Championships is within reach.

Local Rugby vs Cross Straight Play

The club has been re-energized this season after some stumbles over the last several years.  It is my belief that after 6-7 years of playing in the cross strait leagues, the club suffered from all around burnout.  It’s taken about 2 years of no mainland play for the club, players, fans and volunteers to start trickling back to the club. This year has seen a tremendous turnaround.

Getting back to local rugby here on the island is one part of seeing more players come out for sure. The 7-8 games we were playing over there was causing a net loss of players, fans and income.  Rugby is an amateur, club sport here on the island.  Trying to be something we are not is a non starter.  Look what’s going on with half of the clubs in the Premier League right now – not enough players to field a second team when away (and sometimes at home), costs spiraling, fan base being eroded, local players not having fun and leaving the sport.  One last 3rd Div fixture against CW had to be cancelled because all their 3rd Div. players were called to muster for a 1st Div game the day before. They were crushed 80-0.  Very demoralizing.

Several clubs in BC are where Cowichan was a few years ago.  Very few local games for local supporters to come out and watch; trying to muster enough players to make the long trips to the Mainland or Island to play 2 full games.; volunteer administrators being burned out from the work it takes to organize these trips; forfeits in the Premier League fixtures; Premier teams traveling with 25-30 players for 2 games; and 3rd Division guys being pressed into playing Premier games.  We know the story.

Scheduling has been good for the club and the clubs we play. Local fans can watch every game in the schedule and many follow the club to our away games. The same works for us as the opposing sides supporters come to us to support their club and stay a long while after the matches.  I don’t know how a club can survive with only 4 home games in the Spring season.  Check out the Premier schedule – a couple of Island clubs have 4 home games this Spring.  What fun?


The Slippery Slope….Does Recruiting make you a better club?

The slippery slope of recruiting is hurting local rugby clubs.  There’s a big difference in a club actively recruiting players from elsewhere than having players from elsewhere seeking out a club on their own volition.

Recruiting players in our amateur system only causes dysfunction among the ranks of local players.  Those guys who come out all the training sessions – who pay dues – expecting to play cause they come to practice, only to get bounced when their club brings in a player to replace them.

How does it feel as a player to show up on Thursday only to find out so-and-so is in town and he’s now starting.  Sorry for your loyalty, but now you get to start for the 2nd team.  At the last VIRU meeting one of the most respected rugby personalities around was noted to say, “What’s happened to club rugby here on the island?  There’s no local players and nobody in the clubhouses” (referring to the Premier league).

I will never forget watching a Prems match in Victoria a few years back and standing next to a guy I know through work.  His son played for the other team and was a good, top level local player.  He and his wife were out to support his 25 year old son just like lots of other locals every weekend.  This one game I noticed that his son was not playing and was sitting on the bench.  Dad was angry.  His son had not missed training – ever – and started every game until this point.  He earned his spot.  Dad said the club had recruited a player that made it to one training session and got to start instead of his son in this game. The dad said that his son was so angry he wouldn’t be surprised if he quit.  The dad was also angry that a local club would do that to a local player.  That was the last time I saw that player or his parents at a rugby game.  The player they brought in was off somewhere else some months later. Multiply this situation 10 fold and you can see what can and is happening to once local, strong community clubs.

The slippery slope is that the more you recruit and push the locals away the more you have to recruit to replace those players you lost.  The recruited players are also committed to other bigger and better things, so when called away the club expects the snubbed local to stand in until that player comes back.  Rumors that payments are being made to lure players in also doesn’t help.  Why should a dues paying local player be bumped by a non-dues paying, club sponsored player from elsewhere?.  It doesn’t take long for the locals to figure it out.  They do disappear and, unfortunately, may leave the sport for good.  You also lose that strong local connection to your overall support group.  For every local player a club snubs, you lose another 2-3 supporters of that player.  With rugby’s very small fan base, can clubs afford to lose the core group of fans?

Being a strong healthy club doesn’t mean you only field and support a couple of teams and win the Rounsefell Cup.  A strong club fields 8-10 diverse teams, plays to be competitive with a goal of winning and supports the local players and other local clubs.  Our club is back on track.  You want to play?  Come out and train – earn your spot and you will play!

Supporters Jerseys and Club Gear

The Club is purchasing a new set of jerseys over the holiday break. They will be emblazoned with our sponsors logos!  As an option, members can opt to buy their own custom jersey. Please read the message below from Gord:

*Ok Folks we are getting ready to order our supports jerseys from Kukri. The cost will be $75. It is a tapered fit, but not the super tight fit. We will be taking orders for the next 7-10 days and unfortunately no they will not arrive before x-mas. If you would like to order simply write it in to the comment section with the size and number you would like. I will put the sizing chart on the next post. Let me know if you have any questions.  If you’re not on Facebook, you can contact Gord by email

The club has Belt Buckles for sale. They are $40 and would make a great Christmas Gift for a club supporter. They are available at the club or for those that can’t get by when trhe club is open, you can pick one up at either Heritage House Trophy & Awards shop in Duncan or Langford. The $40 goes directly to the club and helps pay the bills.  A great keepsake.

Social Media

Facebook: The club has 450 friends on the club facebook page. Please check it out and like it if you already haven’t. Lots of pictures and a running dialogue from members.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a public site and comments made should be in keeping with club values as a family based organization. No Religion, Politics or un-clublike comments Please!

Twitter:  The Club’s twitter account is @CRFCPiggies

Kudos to Craig Schmidt, a local Shawnigan resident, who has mustered a strong rugby group at Frances Kelsey High School. He, Tom Fogarty and other members from the club are working hard to bring competitive rugby to Kelsey.

Frances Kelsey Rugby is selling fire wood. The details can be seen at the Frances Kelsey Rugby Facebook page.

Congratulations to the Castaway Wanderers U-16 Men’s team. They won the BC Championship game vs Bayside last week.

Interesting that local players are starting to pick up good local jobs. Catalyst Paper has hired two players(good Union jobs) and others are starting to find good trades jobs locally.

Follow the Piggies

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