Speed is Piggies’ edge in opener against Alberni

The second half of the rugby season started with a bang for the Cowichan Piggies.

The First Division side got things underway last Saturday with a 41-18 victory at home against Port Alberni, a team that beat them handily in their last meeting.

"We had a pretty decent game," head coach Gord McGeachy said. "I was happy with the way things went, especially with the way last time we played Port Alberni didn’t go in our favour."

Numbers at training have been good for the Piggies, which creates positive competition among the players and benefits the team as a whole.

"Guys are stepping up and it’s making everybody a bit better," McGeachy said.

Beyond numbers, it was quickness that gave the Piggies their biggest edge last Saturday.

"I thought we had a pretty good speed advantage against Port Alberni," McGeachy said. "I think our team speed right now is pretty good."

Using their speed, the Piggies moved the ball well in the spring opener, particularly

in the second half of the game.

"In the first half, we didn’t execute when we had scoring opportunities," McGeachy explained. "[Alberni] kind of got on their front foot for the last 20 minutes and got back in the game. We made some changes at the half and came out pretty hard, and they couldn’t keep up."

Owen Wood opened the scoring with a penalty goal, and about 18 minutes into the first half, Gabe Farrell scored the Piggies’ first try, which Wood converted. Five minutes later, Wood scored a try of his own. Cowichan held a 15-11 lead at halftime.

Immediately after play resumed, Rob McDonnell scored a try on a solo effort off the back of a scrum, and Wood slotted another conversion. Carlin Hamstra, a second-half sub at fullback dove over the line about 10 minutes later, and Wood converted again. Before the second half was over, Farrell had a second try, and Jordan Weisner completed the scoring by beating a couple defenders and going into the corner.

"It was a solid team effort," McGeachy said.

The Piggies are scheduled to play in Nanaimo this Saturday.