Rusty rugby teams take a half to find their legs

Cowichan teams improve after halftime in first games of January

For both the senior men’s and women’s teams from the Cowichan Rugby Football Club, last Saturday’s games were markedly different in the first and second halves.

The Cowichan men’s team faced Castaway Wanderers in a game that was moved from Victoria to Cowichan at the last minute, while the combined Cowichan and Westshore women’s side paid a visit to Abbotsford.

The men’s team was outscored 38-0 in the first half, but bounced back with a 14-0 second half, while the women’s team was down 35-0 at halftime but salvaged the second half and ended up with a 47-12 loss.

In the men’s match, the Piggies conceded the first try in less than a minute, and found themselves behind by three tries in under 10 minutes. Cowichan did come close to scoring between CW’s first and second tries, spending several minutes close to the try line, but were unable to capitalize.

The Piggies were admittedly rusty after a long hiatus.

“We hadn’t played since Nov. 23, which is just over two months,” Cowichan coach Andrew Wright said. “It doesn’t justify it, but with the weather, we haven’t been able to get full training like some of the clubs that have access to an indoor or covered facility.”

The tide turned after the break.

“We got rolling in the second half with the systems we’ve been trying to hammer down in training.”

Mike Fransen scored in the corner immediately after play resumed, and Rob McDonnell ran about 50 metres to score later in the half after picking off a Castaways pass. Owen Wood converted both scores.

Wright felt his team’s play without the ball was the highlight of the latter 40 minutes.

“All in all, I think we stepped up our defensive play in the second half, which failed us in the first half.”

The team has added a new player from Saskatchewan, with some new players coming up from the high school and junior ranks to bolster a team that struggled with numbers in the fall.

“We had four or five on the field Saturday in the reserves and starting lineup,” Wright noted.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will play at home this Saturday in a doubleheader against Bayside. The women play at 11:30 a.m. and the men take the pitch at 1 p.m.

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