The Cowichan Piggies checked off one of their major preseason objectives with a 22-10 win over Westshore in Langford last Saturday.
“One of our preseason goals was to get two away wins, and we were successful Saturday,” Piggies head coach Andrew Wright said. “Two away wins in a row is huge.”
The Piggies built on the momentum from their first road win of the spring, a 32-22 victory over Port Alberni a week earlier.
“We felt pretty good after the win against Port Alberni,” Wright said. “Our training was high-tempo and focused. Our gelling and continuity is starting to come together. We went down feeling we could get a win.”
The Piggies weren’t expecting things to be easy last Saturday.
“It’s always a tough battle with Westshore,” Wright said. “This was our first time down there since we won the Island championship there last spring. I think they had that on their minds.”
Wright went with the same starting lineup as his team fielded against Alberni a week earlier, and it paid off as the Piggies led 12-0 at halftime and held on through the second half.
“We kept pouring it on,” Wright said. “Defensively we were strong, although the two tries we allowed were kinda weak.”
Jenner Teufel scored a try and kicked two conversions and a penalty goal, and the other tries came from Cam Jervis and Matt Melgaard.
Senior players like captain Robbie McDonnell, assistant Teufel and No. 10 Danny Hamstra kept the Pigges focused. Despite being out-sized, the Cowichan forwards set the tone for the entire game.
“The forwards were all over the park,” Wright said. “They were responding to Jenner organizing them.
“Their forwards must have had 100 pounds on every guy in our pack. That gave us a test, but our technique and scrummaging ability just held its own.”
When the starters slowed down, Wright was able to turn to a deep group of reserves for relief.
“We had probably the best bench we’ve had in our three spring games,” the coach said. “They came in when they were needed and held the game.”
The Piggies will try to continue the winning streak on their home pitch this Saturday as the Black Sheep stop by for a rematch of Cowichan’s Feb. 18 win in Port Alberni. The Sheep have lost two in a row, including a two-for-one game last week that served as both a league match and the delayed final of the fall Times Cup competition.
“They’re going to be gunning for redemption,” Wright said. “They’re going to be at full strength and they’ll be hungry. It will be an absolute battle.”