Sunday, September 21, 2014 - Submitted by Brock Smith - Rugby Ontario
The Ontario Blues had a chance to clinch the Canadian Rugby Championship’s MacTier Cup with a win on Sunday afternoon in Peterborough, but a narrow 29-26 loss to the top-seeded Prairie Wolf Pack dashed the Blues’ hopes of clinching the 2014 national title on home soil.
“We didn’t play our best rugby today,” said Blues head coach Chris Silverthorn, after the match. “We wanted to win the MacTier Cup at home, but full credit to the Wolf Pack. They really got into our game, and disrupted us.”
Sunday’s match featured a clinic in precision kicking, furthering the evidence as to why Gordon McRorie and Derek Daypuck lead the CRC in tournament scoring; the Wolf Pack and Blues kickers top the scoring charts with 76 and 63 points, respectively. McRorie struck for five penalty kicks in the match, including a 60-metre cannon from well within his own half, while Daypuck hit for four on the day.
The opening half saw neither side jump to a sizeable advantage, as McRorie and Daypuck each notched two penalties and a single conversion in the frame. Wolf Pack wing Graham Turner scored the match’s first try at the 25-minute mark, but Blues Number 8 Seb Pearson responded by crashing over the whitewash just minutes later. At the halftime whistle, little separated the provincial sides, as the match was deadlocked at 13-13.
Coming out of the interval, Ontario looked poised to take control of the match: wing Jake Webster touched down just two minutes after the restart, and minutes later, fullback Rich Lebel came within inches of adding a try of his own.
However, the Wolf Pack did well to respond to the Blues’ early momentum, with speedy fullback Shea O’Hallahan sneaking in to the try zone along the touchline. McRorie’s conversion drew the match level at 20-20.
The final 20 minutes of the match proved to be a de facto kicking contest: McRorie’s three late penalties offset Daypuck’s two. The Prairie side did well to pen the Blues into their own defensive third for the bulk of the final 10 minutes, earning a clinical 29-26 victory over Ontario. Sunday’s result means the Wolf Pack (5-1), who have now finished their six-match season, hold a four-point lead in the CRC standings over the Blues (4-1). Ontario will round out their season on Saturday against the fourth-place Atlantic Rock in St. John’s, N.L., where a bonus-point victory will guarantee the Blues their fourth straight MacTier Cup.
Silverthorn and his side now have six days to prepare for their season finale.
“It’s been a long time since we lost. It’s been 18 games in a row for us, so the loss is a good reality check,” he added. “For now, we have to regroup, prepare, take our six days to recover, and get back on the horse. We still have everything to play for.”
Saturday’s match against the Rock will kick off at 1:30 p.m. EDT.
Canadian Rugby Championship Standings
1. Prairie Wolf Pack (5-1-0; 23pts) 2. Ontario Blues (4-1-0; 19pts) 3. British Columbia Bears (2-4-0; 10pts) 4. Atlantic Rock (0-5-0; 1pt)
Tries: Shea, O’Hallahan, Graham Turner Conversions: Gordon McRorie (2) Penalties: Gordon McRorie (5)
Ontario Blues Squad vs. Prairie Wolf Pack – Name (Club)
1. Tom Dolezel (London St. George’s) 2. Ray Barkwill (Niagara Wasps) 3. Doug Wooldridge (Lindsay RFC) 4. Hank McQueen (Balmy Beach) 5. Haddon Murray (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) 16. Judson Rowbotham (Lindsay RFC) 17. Rob Brouwer (Lindsay RFC) 18. Jacob Rumball (Balmy Beach) 19. Scott Dunham (Balmy Beach) 20. Lucas Rumball (Balmy Beach) 21. Jesse Lofthouse (Markham Irish) 22. Andrew Ferguson (Oakville Crusaders) 23. Dan Mathie (Oakville Crusaders)
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 29 @ ONTARIO BLUES 26 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, St. John’s, N.L.