Piggies drop opener, salvage bonus point

The Cowichan Piggies didn’t win their season opener last Saturday, but a couple of late tries allowed them to salvage a bonus point.

The Cowichan Piggies didn’t win their Vancouver Island Rugby Union season opener last Saturday, but a couple of late tries in a 55-20 loss to the UVic Norsemen allowed them to salvage a bonus point in the Cowichan Cup standings.

The Piggies got off to an excellent start, going up 5-0 just minutes after the opening kickoff when Peter Budina crashed over the line from a tap penalty. The Norsemen responded quickly with a penalty and a converted try to go up 10-5 before Andrew Gudmundseth scored to knot the score at 10-10 at the 20-minute mark.

Over the remainder of the first half, however, UVic capitalized on a series of Cowichan turnovers to go up 30-10 before the whistle blew.

Things continued to go poorly for the Piggies in the second half as some poor tackling allowed the Norsemen to score two more tries within the first five minutes. Cowichan managed to settle down after that.

“From that point on we were able to regroup and limit their scoring opportunities while scoring a couple late tries from Mike Roberts and Rob McDonnell to salvage a bonus point,” Cowichan coach Gord McGeachy said. “We knew we were in for a tough day. UVic are an extremely strong outfit that utilizes speed, skill and fitness to get out around the edges of field and we really had no solution for what they threw at us.

“However, we managed to score four tries and definitely pinpointed a few areas that we absolutely have to be better in, so it wasn’t a total wash.”

The Piggies will head to Comox this Saturday, with their home opener set for Sept. 26 against Port Alberni