Caps hosted the University of Victoria for two senior men’s games today. It was a split decision with U-Vic winning the curtain raiser and Caps winning the Premier match. It was great to see the guys back on the pitch. It has been a difficult situation with the fields frozen and practices having to be held in doors at gyms. With U-Vic getting beaten by UBC last week and Caps idle, one suspected that it would be a battle and from that aspect the rugby didn’t disappoint. A team that gets soundly beaten often comes back like a wounded animal. Even with players missing due to Canada assignments U-Vic are a talented outfit. Caps duo in Canada 7’ had a great outing in New Zealand with a perfect first day and helped lead their team to victory. Congratulations to Harry Jones, Adam Zaruba and their Canada team mates on a great weekend.
The final score was 22-12 in favour of the students. Caps appeared to me to run out of gas in the second half and U-Vic was good value for the victory. Caps opened the scoring with a try by Nathan Yanagiya. Nathan is returning from a serious ankle injury from last season. He missed the entire first half this season and it is good to see him back. The Norsemen had a chance to open the scoring but missed their chance as the kick for posts sailed wide. Caps converted their try as Will Newbigin split the uprights. It didn’t take long for U-Vic to answer though as their number 8 Evan Cambridge touched down. The conversion was good and we were even at seven. A penalty kick made it 10-7 for the visitors. Caps ran into penalty problems as Ryan Scott was sin binned for an elbow then Lee Foster followed so for a time Caps were down to 13 men. The high tackle law change is going to be evident throughout the league as the game is changing due to a safety first approach. U-Vic struck again with a converted try to make it 22-7. Ryan Scott was then back on the field. A try by Caps from Brad Wightman late in the game made it 12-22 and that was the final score. U-Vic looked fitter than Caps and it showed. It was not a bad first game and the Caps will no doubt improve. Congratulations to the Norsemen for a hard fought victory. Thanks also to the referee for his astute handling of the game.
The Premier Match
As stated U-Vic suffered at the hands of a strong and talented UBC side that Caps will face next week. Caps were out for the first time and that generally shows and it did. There is some talent on this Caps side and a lot of heart! It was great to see the guys that gutted it out in the first half of the season rewarded with the start. The Cap bench has been strengthened, young Steven Ng looks fit and strong. The return of Connor Christopher will also help. Starting his first Premier match today was Connor Martin, who was at fullback in place of injured Sam Franklin. Connor had a sound performance and didn’t look out of place. Many of us played for Caps with his late dad Jim, a former Carson Graham teacher and coach. Jim would have been very proud of Connor. I heard some of the old guys cheering Connor on as he took the field. Connor looked to attack all game and was solid in defense. U-Vic took an early lead with an opportunistic try by James Pitblado, who kicked a loose ball through to the deep in goal area and outran the defense to down the ball. The try was a fine individual effort. U-Vic had some difficulty in their backline and several passes were missed. They did though show promise in attack. Caps played their power running style with Glen McKinnon, Alex Boyd, Jordan Reid-Harvey, Reid Tucker and Jason de Freitas carrying the bulk of the mail up front and Joel Hulett crashing in the backline. Others also added to the attack, Chris Robinson, Chad Carlsen, Eligh Papin, Austin Karius and Greg Brown also chipped in. U-Vic though had several chances to add to their lead and Caps were perhaps fortunate to be only down 5 points at the break. Caps came out more determined in the second half. Some fundamentals need to be improved as kicks for touch and drop outs were missed and these faux passes can cost teams distance and points. Glen McKinnon made a power run that seemed to lift his side. This was culminated with a try by Jordan Reid-Harvey. Chris Robinson converted the try and Caps took the lead. U-Vic had two chances to retake the lead with a couple of penalty kicks. The second attempt by Fergus Hall gave his side the lead 8-7. Caps though were not finished and they went back on the attack and scored the nicest try of the game. Chris Robinson looked left and then back passed inside to Alex Boyd who hit the gap at full pace to score untouched under the posts. Alex Boyd runs hard and low to the ground and was not going to be stopped. The conversion was made and it was now 14-8. Jordan Harvey made a big run for Caps and Caps got a penalty kick. Chris Robinson made it to stretch the lead to 17-8. Caps went back on the attack and looked like they might score again but a fine interception by U-Vic narrowed the lead to 17-13 and the conversion made it 17-15. U-Vic had a couple of chances to go for goal late in the game but decide to go for the lineout. These decisions might have led to a different result but that is only speculation as Caps were a determined crew today. The Caps then played keep a way with rolling mauls and Chris Robinson kicked to touch to end it. U-Vic managed a bonus point but Caps came away with the win. The game was well handled by the referee. Thanks to him and his assistants for a job well done today. It was good to see the refereeing crew speaking with the players and shaking hands at the end of the game. These guys are vital to the game and don’t get enough credit. The teams went to the Cap clubrooms where Jim Leith provided them with delicious Lasagna and salad. Thanks to University of Victoria and Capilano for an enjoyable day of rugby. Thanks to the active crowd that add to the excitement of Rugby at Klahanie. Let’s keep adding to the Capilano Alumni to help grow the game. Information on that is on Capilano website. Hope to see you at UBC next week.