A young Cowichan Piggies side lost 46-10 to an experienced Nanaimo Hornets team as the senior men’s rugby season opened at the Herd Road pitch last Saturday.
“We have lots of new faces this year,” observed head coach Andrew Wright, himself a newcomer to the job. “A lot of players who came up through the junior program and have come back or are just able to play now.”
It was a minor victory just to put together a solid group to take the field for the season opener.
“It was a struggle to get a steady lineup, but we prevailed, so it was good in that sense,” Wright said.
The coach knew his team would be in for a tough challenge, so he set his expectations accordingly.
“Nanaimo is a veteran side, with about 100 per cent of their players returning, and this is the first time all our boys put on a Cowichan jersey together,” he said. “It was good to see all the junior players coming back to represent the club.
“My expectations were that they would keep their composure, and they did that. Some players stepped up and showed they’re able to play at the senior level, where a lot of them had never played before.”
Among the standouts on Saturday were Jenner Teufel, Seth Davis, Drew McCarthy, Sam Anderson and Noah Dobson, although Wright liked what he saw from everyone on the field.
“The whole team played through adversity,” he said, pointing out that the Piggies’ lone try came in the dying minutes, courtesy of Jordan Garvey. It was converted by Jenner Teufel, who also kicked a penalty in the first half.
Cowichan will be at home again this Saturday, hosting the UVic Norsemen at 1 p.m.
“They’re a young side,” Wright said of the Norsemen. “We’re just going to have to adapt to the speed and width of their game, which is typical of a university side.”
Wright already knows that his own team will look different from last Saturday, just based on who is available.
“It won’t be the same starting lineup, although on Tuesday we had the most guys we’ve had out [for training] on a Tuesday,” he said. “Word’s getting out that it’s a young team and a lot of fun.”