It has been a busier summer than usual for the Cowichan Piggies.
While it has been several months since the team has played a regulation First Division rugby match, they’ve been anything but idle.
The last time the Piggies were on the pitch, they played host to a touring side from England in June, and handed them their first loss in two years, a span of some 30 matches. Cowichan coach Andrew Wright conceded that it was the end of the English team’s Canadian tour, but he was still pleased with the result.
“We happened to put the hammer down and just crush them,” Wright said, laughing.
More recently, the Piggies have been ramping up to the 2019-20 rugby season by doing strength and conditioning training on the beach at Maple Bay, followed up on the warmer evenings by a jump in the water.
Proper training sessions are set to begin next Tuesday (Aug. 27) and continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the season.
The first game of the season is set for Sept. 14, when the Piggies visit the Port Alberni Black Sheep. They visit Bayside in Surrey the following weekend, then make their home debut on Sept. 28 against Comox. The team will visit the Mainland just twice this season: once in the fall and once in the spring, and the easier travel schedule is a welcome change.
The roster for the upcoming season is starting to take shape, with some older players returning after taking time off, and some young guys moving up from the high school ranks, which Wright is excited about.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen that kind of transition,” the coach said. “The connection between the high school and the club was lost for a while.”
The club is always recruiting men’s and women’s players of all levels, and is hoping to rebuild the Third Division team it fielded for several years, but has since gone by the wayside. It is looking into the possibility of working with Nanaimo or Westshore as the women’s team did last spring, to great success, to create a combined Thirds side.
The Cowichan women’s team is looking for a coach for this season after longtime skipper Lee Burridge stepped down. The club is also looking for bus drivers with a class 2 licence to help teams get to road games.
For more information about the club, visit cowichanrugby.ca