And we’re off

It was great, January 17th and we are playing rugby! The earliest start to Spring rugby for our club in recent memory. The 2+ month “Christmas” layoff seems to be getting longer but to some extent, owing to our participation in the Times Cup and Cowichan Cup, we are playing rugby when the Premier sides are not.  We play a couple more games between now and February then have another shutdown for the Las Vegas 7’s.

Game Report – 1st Division Men vs JBAA

Anyway as mentioned last Piggie Post, the once 3-4 games a season we would play again rivals James Bay AA have been whittled down to one home date every two years for each club.  This past weekend Cowichan trundled down to the south western corner of Victoria better known as the Mac for an afternoon of rugby.  It was fine rugby day with the field in it’s usual pristine condition.  It was cool and a bit windy but not raining – almost as good as it can get in James Bay in January.

The two teams had a lot of rust to shake off as the last games were played in balmy mid November.  James Bay featured a mix of their Premier and 2nd team players.  JBAA also featured recent “recruit” from Cowichan, Cam Hall at #10 + several other players that came through the Cowichan Junior development program.  So no real surprises for the Piggies on that front.  After 2 weeks of good training sessions, Cowichan came ready for the match.  Basic instructions – defend the maul and hit the blue guys!

Cowichan, despite a fairly young side, have some good experience in key positions, have a very solid front row and mobile back row.  The welcome additions this spring of Germain Lamothe at #8 and Pat Fraser at #15 only seemed to give the squad a lift.

Cowichan also welcomes the return this season of center, Mike Roberts.  Mike, is as usual, is very intense and prides himself on his defense and hard tackling.  Mike is a second generation Piggie and hails from that rugby factory at Frances Kelsey High School in Mill Bay, along with 4 other starters for Cowichan on the day.

The early game saw Cowichan and JBAA slogging it out between the 22’s. Cowichan had some very hard tacklers from #10 through #13 and were able to put any JBAA ball carrier on the deck on any forays through the middle.

Cowichan’s kicking from hand was off in the first 20 minutes, with several kicks for clearance failed to find touch and gobbled up by the back three of James Bay.  There was about five or six opportunities to have the ball buried deep in the coffin corner, only leading to the Piggies defending at the center line.  Frustrating and definitely something to improve upon.  The JBAA fullback had some good runs off the miscues, but was fiercely tackled as he made the gain line.  JBAA took advantage of a penalty at the Cowichan 35m line and Elliott Metru stroked one through the uprights.

Cowichan finally gained momentum and had JBAA on the back foot for the second part of the 1st half.  An offside penalty allowed Cowichan’s Pat Fraser to slot the uprights to even the score.  Cowichan continued the pressure and after a very convincing set piece steal of a JBAA put in saw some good ball movement between #8 Germain Lamoth and #3 Dan James, ending up in a nice little offload to the hard charging #2 Ryan Spooner who scored between the posts.  Fraser with the boot. Cowichan up 10-3 at the half.

The second half started with JBAA rolling downhill.  And like the first half, tried to best the Piggies with the rolling maul which, time after time, was stopped without any JBAA success. After some back and forth play, JBAA’s #10, Cam Hall, magically appeared, took a pass from #1 Noah Barker and was able to elude the Cowichan defender and skittled in for the score.  Mitru the convert, 10-10.

Cowichan’s #10, Peter Budina, had a very good game on defense and any attempt by center Vince Herlaar to run through the 9-10-12 gaps was effectively stymied by the quickly closing and hard hitting Gudmundseth/Budina tandem.  Budina, accepting nice ball from #9 Jenner Teufel all game and had some great runs through his opposing number, each time was able to gain 10-20m.  It was hard slogging back and forth between the 22’s for the mid part of the 2nd half.  Both sets of back row forwards played well with Cowichan’s #8 Gemain Lamothe making nice plays all over the field.  Andrew deGoode was also dominant for the JBAA pack.  Lots of hard tackling by both sides.

Ball again in the JBAA end, the Cowichan front row, who won the battles in the set pieces with eight steals of Bays ball, seemed to be the difference in the second half.  JBAA collapsed a scrum was called for the infraction and Pat Fraser punished with his accurate kick.  20-10 Cowichan with 30 minutes to go.

JBAA attacking at Cowichan’s 30m line near the sidelines had the ball intercepted by Cowichan’s David Cowie who sprinted almost the length of the field only to be caught by JBAA’s #11 at the 5m line.  Cowichan recycled the ball effectively, and after seven or eight phases and some hard work by the Cowichan forwards, JBAA was penalized for an infringement around the breakdown.  Cowichan takes the 5 m scrum, wins the ball, Teufel offloads right to hard charging Mike Roberts, tackled at the 2m line, ruck, quick ball left to Dan James who drew in the tackler and quickly offloaded to a rumbling Ty Jones who went in untouched for the score under the posts. Pat Fraser convert 20-10 for Cowichan.

With the play in the JBAA end, a huge JBAA clearance kick cross field by Mitru, a Cowichan miscommunication had the ball landing in the JBAA wingers hands and he was able to scamper the distance to score a late try. Kick missed, 20-15 Cowichan.

With ball now in the Cowichan end and JBAA pressing, Cowichan winger was yellow carded and was sent to the bin after a long conversation between the side judge and the referee.  Cowichan would finish the game a player short.  JBAA sensing blood, pressed hard but got held up in the end zone and awarded a 5m scrum.  Cowichan pushed the JBAA scrum off their own ball, and cleared with a strong kick that went out mid-field.  JBAA, who was very good in the line-outs all day, secured this final one. Tenacious defense midfield by Cowichan caused a turnover, and the game was over.

A pretty good game and one wonders why we don’t have more.  Both sides relaxed in the JBAA Clubhouse where the woes of local rugby were all solve between gulps.  Great to see Robbie Waddell, Mike deGoode, Tom Wood and even 92 year old Lou Madley who contributed to the always boisterous conversation.

JJ’s picks for Men of the Match:

Cowichan Forward: #8 Germain Lamothe
JBAA Forward: #7 (I think a deGoode)
Cowichan Back: #12 Mike Roberts
JBAA Back: #15 Elliott Mitru.

A small video of highlights from the game can be found on our website

Game Preview – 1st Division Men vs UVc Norseman

This weekend’s Time Cup match will be against the UVic Norseman.  The Norse are 2nd place in the Times Cup competition and are tied for 2nd place in the Ceili Cup competition.  We fully expect them to arrive with a very full side with bodies to spare.

The Piggies haven’t seen much of the Norseman in a while but we know they will be young, fit and fast.  The age gap between the Piggies and Norseman is not as wide as it used to be, our playing styles are still different – hard hitting and starting from the pack vs the run and gun from the backs.

Saturday’s weather looks to be a bit wet, will it benefit the Piggies?  Only time will tell.

See you at Piggie Park tomorrow, 1:00 pm kick off Piggie Nation!

Junior Piggies Selected for Vegas 7s

Congratulations to the many Piggies who have been selected to play in the Las Vegas 7s in February!

U17 Boys
Taylor De Souza
Kyle Joe

U18 Boys
George Barton

U18 Girls
Denise Roy
Avi Sharabi
Ciel Arbour-Boehme
McKenna Haz

In addition to being selected to the BCEY7s, Kyle Joe has also been selected to play in the U17 Canada West vs Canada East event at the end of February!  Well done Kyle!

Kyle’s family is currently fundraising to help defer the cost of these events.  Kyle started his rugby career in the Mini Program and has represented Cowichan as a member of the Tsunami and Team BC.  He followed in the footsteps of his dad, Marvin Seymour and brother Nick.

If any of the Piggie Nation would like to help Kyle with his fundraising, donations can be made online

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