Cowichan Secondary and Frances Kelsey renewed their high school rugby rivalry last Friday as they squared off on the Cow High field.
Peyton Eagar led Cowichan with three tries as the Thunderbirds earned a hard-fought 31-12 win over the Breakers.
“It was a very physical game and also a fantastic display of local rugby talent,” Cowichan coach Tom Fogarty said.
Kelsey coach Craig Schmidt had a similar assessment.
“It was a very physical first half and our boys wore their Kelsey hearts on the outside of their shirts despite our lack of experience, and kept the score close until halftime,” he said.
The T-Birds managed to widen the gap in the second half.
“The second half showed the areas that we need to work on and my fellow coach Jake Teufel and I have identified this and will be working hard to bring the new players up to speed so we can be a competitive team for a full game,” Schmidt said.
In an interesting turn of events that shows how closely connected the two school’s rugby teams are, Fogarty was the coach at Kelsey until he transferred to Cowichan for the current school year, while Teufel was on the Cowichan coaching staff last season.
Schmidt had hoped that his team would pose more of a challenge for Cowichan, but injuries to key players set the Breakers back a little.
“At the start of preseason training, I felt really good about how strong our team was and that we could give Cow High a run for their money,” he said. “Unfortunately we have lost three impact players, Alex Hadley, Travis Clark and Masaru Evans Kimoto, for different health reasons, and so we now have many new players that are starters on the team.”
The T-Birds played their second and final home game of the short season against Alberni District on Thursday, while the Breakers played host to Nanaimo District.