Shortly before the Cowichan Piggies’ First Division rugby match against the Alberni Valley Black Sheep last Saturday, it was revealed that, due to illness and guys being away working, Alberni would only be able to muster 12 players, one shy of the minimum required by BC Rugby.
Cowichan loaned Alberni a couple of players, and the teams still played a 14-man game at Piggy Park, but the predetermined result didn’t make for the best rugby.
“You could see the demeanor switched in the guys,” Cowichan coach Andrew Wright said. “It’s a hard game to play in that situation. Some things didn’t go well because of that change.”
Even before the teams took the field, the game went into the books as a 20-0 win for Cowichan, earning the Piggies a bonus point and improving their chances of winning the four-game series with Alberni.
“It was good for us,” Wright said. “But bad for the game and not so good for Port Alberni.”
The Piggies did get a boost in the lineup as Matthew Jones and Cody Milne returned after time away, and will be with the team for the rest of the season.
Cowichan will be off until St. Patrick’s Day, when they host Westshore. On April 2, they will play the last game of the Island series in Port Alberni. After the forfeit win, the Piggies are up 2-1 in the series, with a five-point lead in the standings, and a 24-point lead in point differential. Those numbers are very strong, but not insurmountable, Wright pointed out.
“We could go up there and give them a bonus-point win, but as long as it’s within 24 points, we win the series,” he said. “It’s a big hill for them to climb, but it’s always tough to hold on at the top.”