(TORONTO, ON) – The Ontario Blues found themselves in a must win situation in their second last matchup of the 2016 Canadian Rugby Championship presented by Johnsonville, shutting out western Canadian rivals Prairie Wolf Pack 18-0 at Fletcher’s Fields in Markham, ON.
In the day’s other action, the Atlantic Rock beat the BC Bears 20-6 meaning the Blues, Wolf Pack and Rock could win the MacTier Cup Sunday.
The Wolf Pack travel to Newfoundland to take on the Rock while the BC Bears visit Markham to battle the Blues. The Blues and Wolf Pack each have nine points while the Rock have eight with one game to play.
In the 29th minute of the match, the Blues got on the scoreboard first with a penalty from Andrew Ferguson. Derek Daypuck converted another kick from just inside the 50 yard line only four minutes later to give the Blues a 6-0 lead taking them into half.
The second half saw the Prairie team come out hard and fast looking to take the lead early. The Blues stayed vigilant and played smart rugby forcing turnovers and making big drives. By the 44th minute the Blues lead was extended to 11 when Lucas Rumball drove through the Wolf Pack defence for the first try of the game – the conversion by Ferguson was missed.
It was a very evenly matched game but the Blues defence held strong. Late in the game captain Hank McQueen was sent to the sin bin and the Prairie side pushed hard trying to get back in the game but the short-handed Blues held strong for 7 minutes frustrating the Wolf Pack.
In the 71st minute Kainoa Lloyd had a massive run stuffing multiple Wolf Pack tackle attempts to put down another try for Ontario. Derek Daypuck completed the conversion making the score to 18-0, which would be the final.
“We came into this match expecting a very physical game and we got what we expected; the Wolf Pack were the number one seed and we knew they were a very tough, fast side so we made sure we didn't let them have any space to work with” said Blues head coach Chris Silverthorn, following the match. “Winning gold is the ultimate goal and the guys weren’t going out without a fight – the win keeps us alive and we are looking ahead to Sunday to win it all”
“The Wolf Pack played a very solid game and they made us work for the win,” said captain Hank McQueen. “Every single guy on this team left it all on the field tonight and now we have a quick turnaround with another game Sunday against BC. We are going to rest up over the next couple days and get ready to do it all again.”
In St. John’s, the Rock ran in three tries courtesy of Matt Murphy, Emil Sehic and Keelan Chapman while Aiden McMullen kicked five points. Brock Staller, who leads the CRC in points scored, had two penalties.
Canadian Rugby Championship Standings after three rounds:
1. Ontario Blues – 9 points
2. Prairie Wolf Pack – 9 points
3. Atlantic Rock – 8 points
4. BC Bears – 1 point