Ty Jones scored right at the final whistle to give the Cowichan Piggies a 12-10 win over the Nanaimo Hornets last Saturday, setting up a First Division playoff rematch this weekend.
Coming off a loss to Westshore at home the week before, the Piggies had the opportunity to finish the regular season unbeaten on the road, and they seized it.
“We went up on the bus and got in a real good zone,” Piggies head coach Andrew Wright said. “Our warm-up was awesome. We came out flying. It was way better than last week.”
The Hornets opened the scoring with an unconverted try just five minutes in, but the Piggies stayed the course and responded at 37 minutes with a try from Bruce Moss that Jenner Teufel converted. Nanaimo scored another one down the sidelines at 70 minutes, and again missed the convert. Jones scored in the corner as time expired, and Teufel’s missed convert on that one wasn’t a factor.
“We basically controlled the second half,” Wright said. “We should have scored three tries. Nanaimo didn’t want anything to do with our tight game. Our forwards and our backs were crashing over. It was old-time rugby.”
With Cowichan getting past Nanaimo and Westshore beating Port Alberni, that set up a pair of rematches in the Island semifinals this Saturday. The Piggies will carry a lot of confidence into their playoff game that kicks off at 1 p.m. at May Bennett Park.
“I’ve been telling the guys that regardless of how the Island final goes, if we win on Saturday, we get to be in the provincial playoffs,” Wright said. “Our goal was to get off the Island this year. Last year we won the Island final, then came up short against the Surrey Beavers [in the provincial playoffs].
“I think the boys are looking forward to it. We want to do better than we did last year. We’re in Nanaimo’s heads now. They’re gonna be apprehensive. We’re in the driver’s seat.”
The Piggies will be without two of their young stars this Saturday as 18-year-olds Kyle Joe and Peyton Eagar are touring Europe with the Canadian U19 side.
“We want to wish them the best,” Wright said. “It’s great for the club and the Valley to get those guys in there.”
The national U19 roster also includes current Shawnigan Lake School players Seth Purdy of Mill Bay and Evan Norris, and graduate Mostyn Findlay.