Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - Submitted by Patrick McCarry in Vancouver, BC
The Canadian Rugby Championship has been blown wide open with two emphatic results for the sides defeated in Saturday’s seasonal openers. Ontario Blues produced a devastating seven-try performance against British Columbia in West Vancouver to win 46-21. BC’s weekend victims, The Rock were victorious against Prairie Wolf Pack. All sides now have one win apiece but the Blues and The Rock will fly eastwards secure in the knowledge that they are genuine CRC contenders.
BC made rugby supporters across the country sit up and take notice when they defeated The Rock at the weekend but they could not reproduce the disciplined efforts again. Ontario shot out of the traps and ran in three rapid-fire tries to lead 19-0 after 20 minutes. Captain Sebastian Pearson touched down first and was soon followed over the whitewash by Daniel West and Ryan Macsween. Blues head coach Rob Doyle said, “For the first 20 minutes we were playing the way we train. We set the pattern and tempo of the play and the boys followed our words clinically. We cleared out at the ruck, used slow ball wisely and spread it wide when the opportunity arose.”
The home side, playing under clear blue skies at Klahanie Park, opted for all-out attack as it tried to get a foothold in the game. The Sevens game is renowned for its strength in British Columbia and fans got a glimpse of similar darting moves and quick passing as Kris de Scossa’s men attacked out wide. The tactic was rewarded when Esava Nakulanisia utilized his scorching pace to touch down. A Conor Braid conversion made it 22-7 at half-time.
Doyle felt that his players had been lured into taking needless risks at the end of the first half and his words at the break seemed to refocus his men. They went through a number of phases and were stingy with possession. The approach paid off when Kyle Armstrong scored a try after a sustained period of pressure. BC full-back hit back shortly after with a well-taken try and the scoreline read 29-14.
All hopes of a comeback were quashed when tight-head Dan Pletch burrowed over the line for try number five. The score took the wind out of BC and two more were to follow when back row Tyler Ardon and Pearson, with a dash from outside the home side’s 22, drove home the advantage.
Doyle said, “The big difference for us today was our strong bench. When our guys ran out of gas in the second half, we brought on some players that really made an impact. It was a genuine 22 man effort. I’m also happy that every player made yards out there and that we were not just relying on one or two players to make the breaks and carry the ball.”
The Blues took a maximum of points out of the encounter as they secured the win, scored over four tries and prevented BC from getting within seven points. The home supporters were rewarded for their patience and encouragement as Sean Duke sniped through the Blues defence and off-loaded to Graeme Minty for a score under the posts.
BC coach, de Scossa said, “Putting things into perspective, that was our second game in four days. It makes a big difference when you play a team [Ontario] that has played several exhibition games and had months to prepare. Taking that all into consideration and the fact that we have only played two games as a squad, I'm proud of our guys and I look forward to seeing them come together more as a team in Kelowna (when BC play Prairie Wolf Pack.)"
Ontario 46 Tries: Sebastian Pearson x2, Daniel West, Ryan Macsween, Dan Pletch, Kyle Armstrong, Tyler Ardron Conversions: Steve Piatek x4 Penalties: Steve Piatek
British Columbia 21 Tries: Esava Nakulanisa, Sean Duke, Graeme Minty Conversions: Connor Braid x3