The U16 Cowichan Piggies celebrate after winning the provincial championship at UBC on Sunday. (Submitted)

The U16 Cowichan Piggies celebrate after winning the provincial championship at UBC on Sunday. (Submitted)

U16 Piggies bring home provincial championship

Second title in three years for Cowichan juniors

The U16 boys rugby B.C. championship game didn’t start the way the Cowichan Piggies might have wanted last Sunday, but they weathered the storm and battled back to beat Capilano 36-27 and claim the provincial title.

The game had gone back and forth until about 10 minutes before halftime when the Piggies took the ball out of a scrum somewhere around 45 metres out from the Capilano goal line. The Cowichan backs called a play, made it work perfectly, and finished with a try.

“After that, our boys took the drivers seat and controlled the game as much as they could,” said Darren Sage, who coached the U16 Piggies along with Doug Branchflower. “We had scored a try or two before that, but it was still really close. That was a pretty big turning point.”

Cowichan took just 17 players to UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium for the match, while Capilano had a full team of 25 and a couple more who took warmups. Capilano got off to a strong start, which the Piggies expected, but still weren’t able to contain. Within the first five minutes, Cowichan ended up trailing 10-0.

“They came out ready to play,” Sage said. “They came out really fast. We knew they were going to do that. Our boys hadn’t experienced that all season.”

The Piggies recovered from that shock and gradually got back into the match.

“The boys kind of calmed down. They started playing our style of rugby, our game. We focused on what we needed to do.”

Cowichan’s try-scorers included Graeme Norris, Riory Young and Callum Blake-Currier, while kicker Jamin Hodgkins — a co-captain with Aidan Kirkham — made key contributions.

“It was definitely helpful that he was in his groove,” Sage said of Hodgkins.

Needless to say, the Cowichan players were thrilled to win the provincial title, the second in three years for the U16 Piggies, with a second-place finish in between.

“They worked hard all season for it,” Sage said. “There was a lot of redemption in that.”

The players may not have thought before the season started that they were part of a championship-calibre team, but they went nearly undefeated — their only loss was a forfeit — and proved themselves more than capable.

“It was our goal from day one,” Sage said. “I think everyone was surprised when we announced that would be our goal, but they bought into it, and it paid off. The boys had a solid game. They worked hard all season: not just one day, but all year.”

About half the roster will move up to the U18 ranks next season.

“We’ll have a group of returning kids hopefully who will stick around and bring some friends out for us next year,” Sage said.



kevin.rothbauer@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley school district to get new electric-powered bus by the end of the school year. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley school district to get new electric-powered school bus

Bus one of 18 to be distributed across the province

Condemned building of the Twin Gables Motel in Crofton is not safe and yet a teen has been climbing around on the roof while others were ripping the siding off the building. (Submitted)
Destructive behaviour by teens wreaking havoc on Crofton

Residents becoming fed up with the constant vandalism and fires

This tractor was stolen from Providence Farm near Duncan between May 6 and 7, 2021. (Submitted)
Tractor stolen from Cowichan’s Providence Farm

John Deere X300 model was swiped between May 6 and 7

The organizers of the annual 39 days of July festival hope to return to live shows in Charles Hoey Park this year, like in this photo taken in 2019, but audiences at the show may be limited to 50 people due to health protocols. (File photo)
39 Days of July hoping for outdoor events in Duncan this summer

Annual music festival will run from June 25 to Aug. 2 this year

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

A nurse asks screening questions at an immunization appointment in Nanaimo earlier this year. (Shawn Wagar/Island Health photo)
Island Health appreciates nurses answering the call in challenging times

Health authority draws attention to National Nursing Week

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

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

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Could Victoria skull fragment bring closure to an Island missing persons mystery?

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

Most Read