Owen Wood, pictured here in a home game earlier this season, had a try and four conversions for the Cowichan Piggies against Nanaimo last Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Owen Wood, pictured here in a home game earlier this season, had a try and four conversions for the Cowichan Piggies against Nanaimo last Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan Piggies clobber Nanaimo, prepare for Island final

Cowichan will face Castaways for Times Cup

It was only the second game of three on a swampy day at Pioneer Park, and the field hadn’t been chewed up as much as it would be later on, so Cowichan Piggies head coach Andrew Wright was surprised when his team and the hometown Nanaimo Hornets got bogged down early on in their men’s Second Division rugby match last Saturday.

“The first five minutes was all defence,” Wright commented. “I was a little bit skeptical of what we were doing.”

The game stabilized soon after and Robin Gusse scored the first try, which Owen Wood converted as the Piggies got rolling on a 40-0 win over Nanaimo.

Gregor Grantham and Bruce Moss added tries before halftime, with another conversion from Wood, and the Piggies led 19-0 at the break.

The league is allowing for rolling subs this fall, and the Piggies took advantage of that for the first time in the Nanaimo game, which let players come off the field to take a break from the weather conditions. It also gave some players time at new positions.

“The reserves were cycling through,” Wright said. “It was a good experience for the players and myself.”

Cole Milne scored a second-half try that was converted by Wood. Wood also scored a try that he converted himself, and Dylan Taylor rounded out the scoring, with Zack Simon slotting the last conversion.

It made up for the conditions somewhat that the Piggies came away with the victory.

“It was an absolutely awful day,” Wright said. “But being on the winning side makes it easier to swallow.”

Cowichan and Castaway Wanderers will play in a pair of Islands final this Saturday at Piggie Park on Herd Road. The women’s game is at noon, and the men play at 2 p.m.

CW is the only team to defeat Cowichan this fall, winning on a pair of late tries when the Piggies were a bit shorthanded in late October. With his squad now closer to full health, Wright is excited for Saturday’s final.

“Being the underdogs going in is always a good thing,” he said. “We’re looking forward to it.”

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