The Cowichan Piggies navigated their way through a little adversity on their way to a 39-24 win over James Bay in their home opener last Saturday, continuing their exceptional start to the First Division men’s rugby season.
The Piggies scored on the opening possession of the match, but immediately gave up three tries to fall behind 19-7. Rather than buckle, the Piggies battled back and narrowed the gap late in the first half, then pulled ahead in the second half.
“We figured our stuff out about 25 minutes in,” Cowichan head coach Andrew Wright said. “It was the first real test for our team. We really showed how to pull through a tough situation.
“It shows the character of the leaders, and even the younger players on our team, that when things aren’t going well on the field they can elevate to a level that they can succeed and excel at. I was pretty happy with the way they fought through that. It’s good to get that under our belt at the beginning of the year.”
Jenner Teufel scored and converted the opening try of the game as the Piggies got on the board inside the first five minutes for the third straight game. James Bay responded with a trio of tries, but Cowichan closed out the first half with tries from Andrew Gudmundseth and Kyle Joe.
Wright was thrilled with the play of Joe, a member of the U20 Canadian national team.
“Kyle was outstanding throughout the entire game,” the coach said. “He was all over the field doing different things and playing the systems we wanted him to play.”
The Piggies started the second half with tries from forwards Noah Dobson and Darren Sage to pull back in front. James Bay scored again, but Cowichan closed things out on tries by James Patterson and Dobson again, with a convert from Owen Wood.
The Piggies’ depth helped them regain and keep the lead.
“We had a good, strong bench,” Wright said. “That helped us out a lot with fresh legs and different eyes on the field.”
Prior to Saturday’s game, the Piggies held a moment of silence for longtime member and former club president John Collins, who passed away in June. That seemed to help inspire the team, Wright suggested.
“He was obviously looking over our club to help us prevail over Bays,” the coach said. “We had to thank him in our own way by winning. We wouldn’t have been there without his efforts years back.”
The Piggies have the Thanksgiving weekend off, then return to action on Oct. 14 with a home match against Surrey’s Bayside.