BC Bears Win Big at Home to take CRC Western Qualifier against Prairie Wolfpack
BC Rugby – North Vancouver, BC – August 3rd 2018: The BC Bears defeated the Prairie Wolfpack 39-20 in an entertaining Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) match at North Vancouver’s Klahanie Park. Last week, they were defeated by the Wolfpack in Calgary, losing 27-24 in the final minute, making tonight’s game a must-win match in order to come out on top of the two-leg qualifier. With both teams eyeing a spot as the top seed in the CRC Semi-Finals on August 23rd, there was everything to play for when the two teams faced off in the early evening sun.
The BC lads came hard out of the gate and scored a little over five minutes into the game. UVIC Vike #12, Guiseppe Du Toit, slotted the first points home with a penalty kick through the posts. The Wolfpack answered quickly, however, kicking for their own three points minutes later to level the game. The first half was a very high energy and high tempo affair, the packed crowd vocal and hanging on every turn of the game. Fly-Half, Theo Sauder, cut through the Wolf Pack’s line on a big tear down the sideline and scored BC’s first try, pulling the score to 8-3. James Bay winger Clayton Meeres added a try of his own which was converted by Du Toit, to pull the score to 15-3. After Winger, Jared Douglas, received a wild pass right in front of the stands at halfway, calmly took the game into Wolfpack territory. The ball was recycled and made its way to Du Toit, who deftly fed the ball to Scrum-Half, James Pitblado, who added to the BC Bears’ tally. Du Toit would add two more points with the conversion, the scoreboard reading 22-3. The Bears were benefiting from a number of handling errors from the Wolfpack and were quick to pounce on any spilled possession.
The home side were looking good now and settled into the driver’s seat. After eating up a few phases near the halfway line, Sean Ferguson sold the pass to the Wolfpack defence and blew past them, going over for five points. Du Toit was good for another two points, pulling the score to 29-3, which is where it stood at halftime.
The second half seemed to be a bit of a different affair as the Wolfpack pushed to even the game up. They held possession of the ball for long stretches after the game resumed, keeping the ball fairly close to the rucks and chipping away at the BC defensive line. The Bears defended well and regained possession but were dismayed to lose it when a pass was intercepted by Prairie Fly-Half, Cam Hall, who made good on it by eating up 25 yards and then passing to a teammate for a try. The momentum did not shift though, and the Bears took the ball into the Wolfpack end for a sustained period possession. Phase after phase led to BC being camped out at the 5-meter line, right under the posts. The BC forwards retained the ball nicely here with short passes, making small gains. James Bay’s Travis Larson was the one to punch it over the line this time. Du Toit’s resulting kick was good, leaving the score sat at 36-8.
There were a few scary moments for the Bears in the final 15 minutes where the Wolfpack found their form and 5th gear. They almost scored a try but after the ball was spun wide, setting up their winger for a run into BC’s end, it deflected off the Wolfpack player’s arm into touch. BC was unable to hold off the Wolfpack for long though and their #8 scored, bringing it to 36-13. Guiseppe Du Toit was able to show off his kicking prowess once more when BC was awarded a penalty in the Wolfpack end. The score now 39-13 with the fulltime approaching, it looked like the Bears had comfortably reversed the starting score deficit. The Wolfpack would add one more try and conversion to bring the score to 39-20 and keep the crowd on the edge of their seats. When the final whistle blew, there was relief and pride on the Bears’ faces, a hard-earned and well-executed win.
After the game, captain Luke Campbell commented on his team delivering a huge win, “I think for all of us it was a huge relief. I think we all knew we were building to a huge performance. I think for all of us it was a huge relief. It fell off a bit at the end but a huge stepping stone going into the finals in Calgary”. Coach Dean Murten was much more pleased with his teams’ cleaned-up effort this week, “They’re some really good quality players here and what we’ve got to do now is cut out some of the basic errors, work on some fine-tuning to speed things up a little bit. But, generally, I think we’re in pretty good shape and good position”.
The BC Bears now progress to the CRC Semi-Finals on August 23rd in Calgary as top seed from the Western Division, but will have to wait to find out who their oponents will be. Ontario Blues and Atlantic Rock will face off for the first time tomorrow at Concordia University in Montreal before the second leg is hosted at Burlington RFC in Ontario on August 7th. The CRC Final will then take place on August 26th at Calgary Rugby Park, where the winner will lay claim to the MacTier Cup for 2018. Will the Bears be the team to lift it? Time will tell.
Bears 24-27 Wolfpack @ Calgary, AB – July 27, 6pm
Bears 39-20 Wolfpack @ Klahanie Park, BC – August 3rd, 7pm
Bears vs. Ontario Blues/Atlantic Rock @ Calgary, AB – August 23rd 4pm
3rd Place Playoff – August, 11am
CRC Final – August 26th, 1pm
(All above schedule times in PDT)
Noah Barker – JBAA (Courtney, BC)
Jake Bentley – Calgary Canucks
Head Coach – Col Jeffs
For further information, please contact:
BC Rugby Marketing & Communications Manager
Tel: +1- 604-737-3070