U16 Piggies battle back to win B.C. title

By all logic, the Cowichan Piggies shouldn’t have been in the provincial U16 boys rugby championship game.

By all logic, the Cowichan Piggies shouldn’t have been in the provincial U16 boys rugby championship game.

Missing several key players and facing some tough competition early on, the team got off to a rough start. Although they recovered from that, it wasn’t enough to secure a playoff spot by finishing in the top four of the league. Then fourth-place Abbotsford opted out of the postseason, opening up a spot for fifth-place Cowichan. Making the best of that opportunity, the Piggies not only pushed their way into the final, but won it on their home turf last Sunday with a 29-17 victory over Capilano.

“It’s been a really interesting season,” said Kenton McNutt, who coached the team along with Marvin Seymour and Mike Rea. “We started against some top teams at the very beginning of the season, and we had key injuries to some of our players who played rep rugby last summer with Team BC and the Tsunami, and they couldn’t quite get in the games.”

When Cowichan played Capilano on Oct. 18, the North Vancouver side won 41-0.

“That gives you a good idea of the extent of our injuries at the time,” McNutt said.

As the season progressed, the four or five injured players made their way back into action, and the Piggies got better and better, winning their last five games, including three regular season games and a 29-12 victory over Castaway Wanderers in the Nov. 22 semifinal.

“The boys who came back made a significant impact to our end results,” McNutt said. “It came down to the whole team’s character. For us, the season was highlighted by the number of injuries we had and how they came back and the results we had at the end of the season. This was definitely a Cinderella story. We weren’t supposed to be in the playoffs, which was predicated by the beginning of the season.”

The Piggies led Capilano 29-12 before a late try drew the visiting side closer. In a hurry to make the most of the time left, they rushed the conversion and missed.

“We had a simple, simple game plan,” McNutt said. “We utilized our movement of the ball, and everyone dug in and executed flawlessly, as you can see by the result.”

Dean Mason, team captain Owen Cumming, Ciaran Breen, Reece Tudor-Jones and Michael Jin all scored tries for Cowichan, with Tudor-Jones also slotting a pair of conversions. Although he didn’t get on the scoresheet, Matthew McDougall, one of the injured players from earlier in the season, provided some inspiration for his teammates by strapping on the boots and starting Sunday’s game.

“He was on for the first 20 minutes, and he was just a wizard at fly-half, delivering the ball to his teammates on the back line,” McNutt said.

The win is something the entire Cowichan Valley can be proud of, with contributions from throughout the region.

“One of the things we are proud of is that this was a committed effort from the coaches and people involved with the administration of the high school rugby programs,” McNutt said, noting that the team included players from Ladysmith, Chemainus, Cowichan and Frances Kelsey secondary schools, as well as Brentwood and Shawnigan Lake schools. “It was truly representative of the quality of players in the Cowichan Valley. It’s something we’ve worked hard on the last few years, building a relationship with the schools and people building programs at the schools. That all came to a head with this win.”

With high school rugby getting under way in the spring, the official junior rugby season is over for club teams, but the Piggies are hoping to keep going with an exhibition schedule, specifically to keep the players whose high schools don’t have junior teams. Anyone interested in playing should contact the Cowichan club at facebook.com/cowichanjuniorpiggies

 

Just Posted

Cowichan District Hospital. (File photo)
Guest column: The story of a surgery in Cowichan

In homage to the Cowichan District Hospital and its surgical team

Motorcyclists in the hundreds depart from Duncan on a South Island ride in honour of the Kamloops 215. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Ride for the Kamloops 215 takes over Trans-Canada Highway

“My family was in residential schools for three generations. On the day… Continue reading

(The winning Lady of the Lake candidates demonstrate their talents during the annual Opportunity Night, Wednesday, June 8. Mary Batyi, left, does a Highland Dance routine, accompanied by a bagpiper; Jorden Matson, centre, shows people her artwork while telling the crowd what her inspirations are; Amber Bell tells people about competitive swimming, before providing a virtual demonstration.” (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette, June 15, 2011)
Flashback: Water meters, ‘Porky’, and Lady of the Lake

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Not securing your load could cost you big

An object of any sort falling off of the vehicle in front of you is definitely a surprise

Jared Popma recently streamed a live concert from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre. (Ashley Daniel Foot photo)
21-year-old jazz artist talks favourite tunes and joys of music theory

Jared Popma recently streamed a concert from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read