A full team effort got the Cowichan Piggies past Capilano and into the provincial U18 boys rugby championship game.
The Piggies beat Capilano 23-3 at Stanley Park’s Brockton Oval last Sunday to set up a championship showdown against Island rivals Castaway Wanderers this coming weekend.
“It’s a big commitment for these kinds to travel 12 hours to play 60 minutes of rugby,” coach Shane Thompson said. “They played well, considering. They’re a pretty committed bunch. There’s not a lot of motivating I need to do.”
Colten Smith, Cole Dryer, William McDougall Percillier and Carlos Pestana scored tries for Cowichan, and McDougall Percillier also kicked a penalty goal.
The team features a mix of “raw physicality, size and skill,” Thompson pointed out.
“Rugby is a game where everybody is a piece of the puzzle, and right now it’s working out for us,” he said. “We have a good mix of players of all levels, from players who are trying out for the national team for their age group right down to beginners.”
In addition to players who call the Cowichan Valley home, the team also has members from Brentwood College School and Shawnigan Lake School, and even from Nanaimo and Gabriola Island. It’s not always convenient to plan practices for such a group, but the players’ level of commitment makes Thompson’s job easier.
Cowichan will face Castaways in the B.C. final this Sunday at Windsor Park in Oak Bay. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. The Piggies beat CW earlier in the year, but Thompson isn’t taking anything for granted.
“It was so early in the season, they didn’t have their whole team, and we’re a different team too,” he said.
Thompson believes his team has a good shot at winning.
“I hope we can come out and play the way we can play,” he said. “I think we play a good brand of rugby. We don’t over-think it. When we over-complicate things, that’s when we struggle.”
The match will be preceded by a Mini Rugby exhibition featuring Cowichan’s U10 and U12 teams against Castaway Wanderers.
“We’re excited to have our mini rugby players be a part of this BC Rugby Union junior boys final,” said Kenton McNutt, manager of the U18 team and president of Cowichan Junior Rugby. “It will give these mini players a glimpse into the quality of rugby they’ll be playing in just a few short years.”
The U16 Piggies will also be playing for the provincial championship this Sunday in Vancouver.