With his team trailing 29-0 at halftime last Saturday, head coach Andrew Wright was worried that the Cowichan Piggies might be in for a repeat of their last match against the Bayside Sharks, an 84-0 drubbing in South Surrey last fall.
The Piggies rallied in the second half, and while they didn’t end up on the winning side, and narrowly missed a bonus point in the BC Rugby Union First Division standings, the 29-21 final score was a far cry from the previous meeting.
“I hate losing, but I could handle that one,” Wright said. “I can justify the loss and carry on. With the turnaround, the boys in the change room were definitely feeling good. I think we were all a bit nervous going in. If we had come out and executed in the first half the way we did in the second, it would have been a different game.”
Even the halftime score didn’t accurately reflect the way the game had played out to that point as Bayside scored three of their five first-half tries off turnovers.
“We basically gave them the ball and didn’t react very well,” Wright said. “There were a few handling errors by us, and they were very strong in the tackle.”
The Piggies had their share of play in the offensive zone as well.
“We were definitely in their half for a good 15 or 20 minutes of the first half,” Wright said. “It’s unfortunate we didn’t get any points.”
Wright wasn’t sure if it was something he said or something one of the players said, but when the Piggies returned to the pitch, things were different. Less than two minutes in — “before the referee even finished blowing his whistle,” in Wright’s words — young scrum-half Ty Benson took a turnover ball over the line to get Cowichan on the board and Owen Wood slotted the conversion.
As the second half progressed, Cowichan’s technique and scrummaging came to the forefront and earned the team a penalty try around the 60-minute mark for an automatic seven points. Bayside players earned a yellow card for complaining to the ref about the penalty try, and took a second yellow card for a high hit a few minutes later. Although the Piggies didn’t collect any points as a direct result of having two Sharks in the sin bin, they did get their scrum going again, which led to another penalty try, the last points of the afternoon.
The Piggies are scheduled to host Abbotsford this Saturday at 1 p.m., depending on field conditions. The teams have already had their meeting on the Mainland postponed three times this season, so they may not get a chance to play at all in 2018-19.