Piggies prepare to defend home turf this Saturday

Cowichan women on the field at 11:15 a.m., men at 1 p.m.

A trip to Comox last Saturday gave the Cowichan Piggies a chance to test some of the younger members of their senior men’s squad.

Comox doesn’t have a proper First Division side, so it was more of a Third Division rugby match, Cowichan coach Andrew Wright explained.

“We had a bunch of youngsters out playing,” he said. “It was awesome. It was a good game for them to get their feet wet in men’s rugby.”

The lineup included Colten Smith, who made his debut with the Div. 1 men a week earlier, and Zephyr Melnyk, who has played for B.C. at the national U18 XV and sevens championships, and was recently added to the Div. 1 roster.

“He’s a talented guy,” Wright said of Melnyk. “He’s committed to the sport. He lives on Gabriola Island and makes his was over here and down to the Valley every week to play. He was outstanding.”

A one-sided score in Cowichan’s favour allowed the Piggies to try players in different positions, to test their skills and get some good, hard contact.

Kicker Jenner Teufel was seven-for-10 from the day, slotting most of his kicks from the sidelines.

“It was a good showing for Jenner with his foot,” Wright said.

Cowichan’s rugby teams will finally play their first home games of the fall this weekend against James Bay. The First Division men take the field at 1 p.m. following the First Division women’s game at 11:15 a.m. Port Alberni and the UVic Norsemen will also play a men’s match at 11 a.m.

“We’ll have six First Division teams in action: four guys teams and two girls teams,” Wright noted. “It’ll be a good ol’ day at Piggie Park.”

James Bay is a deep club that fields a Premier team, not unlike Castaway Wanderers, who the Piggies defeated in their season opener on Sept. 16. Bays’ Premier team has a bye this week, which will free up eligible players for the Firsts.

“It’s just about who shows up on the day,” Wright said. “They’re a tough club to go against.”

The Piggies have beaten Castaways in their own park a couple of times in recent years, something Cowichan can hold onto as they prepare to host CW.

“I don’t know if those guys remember it or not,” Wright said. “But I sure do.”