Friday, September 19, 2014 - Submitted by Brock Smith - Rugby Ontario
On the heels of a 29-11 victory over Canadian Rugby Championship rivals British Columbia Bears in Guelph on Thursday night, the Ontario Blues are now just one win away from claiming an unprecedented fourth straight MacTier Cup.
It may not have been the smooth, free-flowing rugby match that head coach Chris Silverthorn was hoping for from his senior men’s provincial side, but timely tries, along with accurate kicking from captain Derek Daypuck, ensured the Blues kept their perfect CRC series record intact.
“There are no easy points against British Columbia, and we saw that tonight,” said Silverthorn. “They’ve got a super skillset. They’ve got many national sevens players playing for them, and they can really light it up, but we didn’t let our foot off the gas. Defensively we were solid, we worked hard, and our guys really earned the win.”
The first half saw Ontario jump to an early 10-0 lead through a Daypuck penalty kick and a crashing try via prop Tom Dolezel. British Columbia fly-half Patrick Kay and Daypuck would trade penalties in the mid-stages of the opening frame, before Bears scrum-half Sean White dashed in to score his side’s lone try of the match. Daypuck’s third penalty of the half ended the opening forty minutes, with Ontario leading 16-8 at the interval.
Kay and Daypuck would once again trade penalty kicks in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, before Daypuck hit for his fifth penalty of the match at the 66-minute mark – a 45-metre strike to put Ontario ahead 22-11.
With British Columbia unable to generate much offence in the half, Ontario hooker Ray Barkwill sealed the Blues’ victory with a late try, rumbling over the line to earn an insurance marker. At the final whistle, Ontario walked off the pitch as 29-11 victors.
As an added bonus, the Blues also claimed the annual Recharge with Milk Cup, sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, awarded annually to the winner of the Ontario-hosted Blues-Bears CRC match.
Prior to the match, the Blues received welcomed news that Canadian international fifteens and sevens standout John Moonlight would make his return to the Ontario senior provincial side.
Despite not landing on the scoresheet, Moonlight’s physical presence was felt on the pitch on Thursday night, with his strong defensive play helping to limit British Columbia to just one try.
“It’s always a pleasure to be back playing for the Blues,” said Moonlight. “I’ve been playing for so many years with a lot of the guys, and they’re a great bunch to play with. Alistair [Clark] and I were back in the back row together, a throwback to when we played in the same spots at the U18 level with Ontario. It’s awesome.”
For Silverthorn and his team, the focus now shifts to Ontario’s home finale against the Prairie Wolf Pack (4-1) on Sunday. The stakes are high: with a victory in Peterborough, the Blues can secure their fourth straight Canadian Rugby Championship title, despite having to play one additional match at the end of the month.
“It’s a big game. The Wolf Pack are really eager to beat us, as they’re shooting for their first MacTier Cup,” said Silverthorn. “Our guys need to take care of themselves over the next few days, recover, and hopefully be as healthy as possible come Sunday in Peterborough.”
“We’ll treat it just like any game. We’ve got to do a bit of recovery, get back and watch film, and make sure we’re ready for this game,” added Moonlight. “It’s going to be a battle. We want that fourth straight MacTier Cup, and we think we’re on the right path to clinching it.”
Ontario’s match against the Prairie Wolf Pack will kick off at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at Peterborough’s Nicholls Oval, home of the Peterborough Pagans Rugby Football Club.
The Blues will then wrap up their season against the winless Atlantic Rock (0-4) in St. John’s, Newfoundland on Sept. 27.
Canadian Rugby Championship Standings
1. Prairie Wolf Pack (4-1-0; 19pts) 2. Ontario Blues (4-0-0; 18pts) 3. British Columbia Bears (1-4-0; 5pts) 4. Atlantic Rock (0-4-0; 0pts)
Ontario Blues Score Report
Tries: Tom Dolezel, Ray Barkwill Conversions: Derek Daypuck (2) Penalties: Derek Daypuck (5)
British Columbia Score Report
Tries: Sean White Penalties: Patrick Kay (2)
Ontario Blues Squad vs. British Columbia Bears – Name (Club) 1. Doug Wooldridge (Lindsay RFC) 2. Ray Barkwill (Niagara Wasps) 3. Tom Dolezel (London St. George’s) 4. Hank McQueen (Balmy Beach) 5. Scott Dunham (Balmy Beach) 6. John Moonlight (Ajax Wanderers) 7. Alistair Clark (Bay Street RFC) 8. Seb Pearson (London St. George’s) 9. Jamie Mackenzie (Oakville Crusaders) 10. Shawn Windsor (Stoney Creek) 11. Dan Moor (Balmy Beach) 12. Derek Daypuck (London St. George’s), Captain 13. Jordan Wilson-Ross (Barrie RFC) 14. Jake Webster (Lindsay RFC) 15. Rich Lebel (Waterloo County)
Replacements 16. Eric Howard (Brantford Harlequins) 17. Rob Brouwer (Lindsay RFC) 18. Jacob Rumball (Balmy Beach) 19. Haddon Murray (Balmy Beach) 20. Lucas Rumball (Balmy Beach) 21. Jesse Lofthouse (Markham Irish) 22. Andrew Ferguson (Oakville Crusaders) 23. Dan Mathie (Oakville Crusaders)
BC Bears Roster 1. Noah Barker (James Bay AA) 2. Micha Govorchin (Burnaby Lake RC) 3. Ryan March (Burnaby Lake RC) 4. Callum Morrison (UBCOB Ravens) 5. Shea Wakefield (UVic Vikes) 6. Thyssen De Goede (James Bay AA) 7. Chase Kelliher (Uvic Vikes) 8. Chris Chalmers (Abbotsford) 9. Sean White (James Bay AA) 10. Patrick Kay (UVic Vikes) 11. Justin Douglas (Abbotsford) 12. Brock Staller (UBC Thunderbirds) 13. Conor Trainor (UBCOB Ravens) 14. Johnny Morris (Castaway Wanderers Rfc) 15. Sean Ferguson (UBC Thunderbirds)
Replacements 16. Ryan Hamilton (Capilano RFC) 17. Andrew Lackner (Burnaby Lake RC) 18. Cody Mclary (Port Alberni Black Sheep) 19 Gord Kehoe (Castaway Wanderers RFC) 20 Luke Campbell (Uvic Vikes) 21 Nathan Yanagiya (Capilano RFC) 22 Bryan Tyrer (UBC Thunderbirds) 23 Jorden Sandover-Best (UBC Thunderbirds)
Ontario Blues Team Staff Chris Silverthorn – Head Coach Paul Connelly – Assistant Coach Paul Ambrose – Scrum Coach Mark Winokur – Manager Rodin Lozada – Performance Analyst Chris Kelly – Athletic Therapist Dr. Chris Gallimore – Team Doctor
Ontario Blues 2014 CRC Match Schedule:
ATLANTIC ROCK 11 @ ONTARIO BLUES 20 Saturday, August 16, 2014 Kick off: 4:30 p.m. Twin Elm Rugby Park, Ottawa, Ont.
ONTARIO BLUES 28 @ PRAIRIE WOLF PACK 3 Thursday, September 4, 2014 Kick off: 8:30 p.m. Ellerslie Rugby Park, Edmonton, Alta.
ONTARIO BLUES 30 @ BRITISH COLUMBIA BEARS 20 Sunday, September 7, 2014 Kick off: 4:00 p.m. Klahanie Park, Vancouver, B.C.
BRITISH COLUMBIA BEARS 11 @ ONTARIO BLUES 29 (RECHARGE WITH MILK CUP) Thursday, September 18, 2014 Kick off: 8:00 p.m. Alumni Stadium, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont.
PRAIRIE WOLF PACK @ ONTARIO BLUES Sunday, September 21, 2014 Kick off: 1:00 p.m. Nicholls Oval Park, Peterborough, Ont.
ONTARIO BLUES @ ATLANTIC ROCK Saturday, September 27, 2014 Kick off: 1:30 p.m. Swilers Rugby Complex