The Cowichan Piggies improved on their performance in the Div. 1 men’s rugby season opener and kept things close until the final whistle in a 32-25 loss to the UVic Norsemen last Saturday.
“It was 100 per cent better,” head coach Andrew Wright said, comparing the match to the 47-10 loss to Nanaimo a week earlier. “The score was a lot closer, and the boys did everything we did at training. The new faces helped out big time.”
The Piggies didn’t get off to a very good start against the Norsemen, and trailed 15-0 after just 15 minutes of play.
“That’s a pretty big deficit to come back from,” Wright admitted.
Tries by Seth Davis and Kyle Joe and a conversion by captain Jenner Teufel got Cowichan back in the game, and the score was 20-12 for UVic at halftime. Teufel slotted a penalty goal in the second half, and he and Noah Dobson both scored tries as the Piggies outscored the Norsemen 13-12 in the last 40 minutes.
“I was pleased with that,” Wright said. “Once the first 15 minutes was up, the boys clawed their way back.”
The Piggies stuck with their game plan, spreading the ball wide and trying to match the speed of the university players.
“It was great overall for the boys,” Wright said. “They’re coming together, game by game and practice by practice.”
Getting veterans like Scotty McLeod, Malcolm Stanfred and Ryan Spooner back for last weekend was a huge help.
“Their presence was felt,” Wright stated, noting that another three players should be back for this Saturday’s match against James Bay in Victoria.
Victoria will be a “gong show” with the Royal Family visiting this weekend, Wright said, but he is optimistic that his team can shake off the distractions and have a good outing.
“With the guys coming back and the guys who were there [last Saturday], it should be good,” he said. “We have a lot of history [at James Bay].”