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Day Two of Canadian Nationals Sets Up Finals

Monday Aug 10, 2009 in Canada Domestic Competitions

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The Rugby Canada National Festival has had the opening two days fighting through warm conditions and severe thunderstorms but also seeing some great rugby played in the Women's U19, Women's U17 and Men's U16 categories.

The Men' U18 division is not being played this year as they will be participating at the Canada Summer Games in Prince Edward Island starting on August 15th.

Day Two Results

Under 16 Men
British Columbia 25 – Saskatchewan 0
A foggy, early morning game started off with soft hands and collapsing scrums on both sides.  Saskatchewan started off strong after yesterday’s losses, but B.C. warmed up to get the first try, soon taking the lead and winning it 25-0.

The scoreboard showed a good game said Saskatchewan’s fly half Mark Discombe. “Considering they have a lot more experience than us, I thought we did amazingly well.”

Ontario 27 – Alberta 3
Ontario had another strong performance as they kept a perfect record heading into their match against the undefeated U16 BC men’s team. 

Their pack has outsized every opposition that was unfortunate enough to be between them and the try line as their dynamic play across the pitch sees them win games through team efforts.

Ontario flanker Jordan Bannister was impressed with the work done up front but said it was the back line that won the match today as they kept steady despite some dreary weather conditions.

“Alberta had a big back today but they just needed better hands,” he said. “Bringing it out wide is definitely how we won it.”

From the stands Ontario head coach Fabian Rayne had a different perspective as he attributes the win to his pack as much as his crafty backs.

“We’re a dynamic team,” he said after the final whistle. “Whether it’s out wide or up the middle we’re going to play rugby.”

Newfoundland-Labrador 15 – Saskatchewan 6
Evenly matched, the game started off slow before Saskatchewan’s Mark Discombe gave a successful kick and sent the ball between the posts. From there, quick hands on both sides caused a back and forth exchange before the Atlantic team secured a try.

Wing Kurt Warford of Newfoundland-Labrador said, “It was a pretty good game, we played hard. We put it all out since we thought this was a game we could win.”

British Columbia 8 – Ontario 0
They may have been U16 teams but these young players put on an impressive display demonstrating that the BC vs. Ontario rivalry is alive and well.

Both sides battled hard in the one of the most heated matches of the tournament. Ontario’s attack was in full swing during the first half but British Columbia eventually found their rhythm and spent much of the second half grinding away at the home side’s defense.

With less than five minutes to go, B.C. spread the ball wide and Liam Murray-Burke was able to find space and score the lone try of the match. A penalty would seal the win in the dying seconds as British Columbia remains the only U16 men’s team with a perfect record.

“Everyone always tells me that there’s nothing like playing Ontario,” Murray-Burke said after the exciting finish. “Going over for that try was just surreal – I don’t think I’ve ever run that fast in my life.”

While Ontario may have been disappointed with the final result, U16 Captain Conor McCann says his team is already looking forward to a possible re-match in the final on Wednesday.

“These games are always the classics of the National Championship so obviously we’re frustrated with the loss,” McCann said before adding, “But I think we’ll have the upper hand if we have the opportunity for a rematch.”

Newfoundland-Labrador 0 – Alberta 25
A battle of kicks left Alberta dominant as they took control of the game after a shaky start. Matt Whittle, Alex O’Keefe and Kurt Warford each went over for tries in the final match of the day.

U17 Women
Ontario 39 – Saskatchewan 0
Ashley Moreau was first to go over for Ontario before Jayme Ward broke through for two tries. Saskatchewan held their own up front but Ontario’s backs were lethal as they shifted down the line and won the game out wide.

“I was impressed overall with our attack and our defensive organization was pretty solid,” Ontario’s head coach Sean Dunleavy said after the match. “We stayed organized and knew that on a quick turnover we could spread it wide and win the game in the backs.”

British Columbia 5 – Quebec 5
It was a difficult first half for British Columbia as Quebec neatly maneuvered a try between the West coast’s guard.  Tension mounted as BC attempted to gain back lost ground as the opposition increased their pace. A last-ditch push from BC before the end of the game brought it to an even 5.

“It was tough…I think we could’ve done a lot better, but we tried,” said Quebec’s scrum half Ruth Dyck.

Alberta 41 – Saskatchewan 0
Alberta pressed hard and never really let up throughout the match. A number of their pack have played out wide during their high school careers and their fitness has proved to be essential as they remain contenders for the U17 women’s final in the coming days.

“For the first few games we’ve had all cylinders firing,” Alberta Head Coach Liam Hutchinson said of his team’s 1-1-1 record so far. “One thing I’ve found when your competing at Nationals is that it’s good to have size but you can’t win against Ontario and British Columbia unless your team is mobile.”

If Alberta is able to defeat Quebec this afternoon they could be in the U17 women’s final against Ontario beating out B.C. who was in last year’s championship match.

Saskatchewan has had tough matches but despite some difficult opposition they never let up and play out until the final whistle.

“I thought we played really hard,” Saskatchewan Captain Kristine Lovett said after the 41-0 match. “We’re still going home with our pride.”

Alberta 7 – Quebec 5
A break away run by Alberta’s Cassandra Orr gave the Prairie team an early lead. It wasn’t until the end of the second half that Quebec pulled through with a try. Despite Quebec’s valiant efforts, a missed kick still puts them behind in the end.

“It was a though loss but these things happen. Our girls did really well, and played two good games after getting trounced by Ontario yesterday,” said Quebec coach Stephen Kaplain. “By losing by just two points makes me feel really hopeful for the future games.”

Ontario 15 – New Brunswick 0
It was a messy game, even without the slick field. Ontario lacked their usual finesse and control and New Brunswick power-housed through Ontario’s defence. Soft hands on both sides resulted in lost opportunities leaving the score at half-time 0-0.

A change of pace in the second half had Ontario pick up their game, taking three tries before the match was over.

“We underestimated them in the first half and we didn’t play to our capabilities,” said Ontario’s captain Lynzi Anderson, “In the second half we made some changes, raised our tone and played up our game. I’m glad we won – it was a close game. They won the game overall, but we won it in numbers and that’s what counts.”

U19 Women
British Columbia 15 – Quebec 0
Poor weather affected the playing field as both teams had to regroup after rain delays cut their match in half. It was evident these players are in their second day of the tournament as knocks and bruises were in abundance and taking their toll on the squads.

BC managed to come out on top but didn’t play to their full potential that they’d shown on day one.

“Tournament rugby is always a battle of attrition,” BC head coach Jason Young after the win. “We knew Quebec were a tough team but didn’t expect them to play that hard.  They played well but our defense was solid.”

Alberta 22 – Newfoundland 0
Alberta and Newfoundland also fell victim to the heavy Ontario rains and lightning storms but according to Alberta’s Head Coach Bill Bowd, his side benefited from the poor conditions.

“We started slowly and it took us a while to take control,” he said after his team came away with 22 points. “After the rain delay we came out with a lot more fire.”

Ontario 15 – Quebec 0
Despite being one of the favorites heading into the tournament, Ontario struggled to overcome a defiant Quebec.

“Quebec piled on the pressure and were tenacious,” Ontario’s head coach Craig Harris said after the tough match. “I’m happy to get out with a win.”

Harris was also pleased with how his team consisting of 19 different club sides in Ontario has come together in the past two days. His side will now face off against the undefeated British Columbia in a clash of the tournament titans.

We watched BC play Alberta and it was like looking in a mirror,” he said anticipating a tough match tomorrow. “They have forwards who can do the heavy work. They like to pound on you and then spin it.”

New Brunswick 8 – Alberta 0
Underdogs New Brunswick proved to be a powerful opponent, stealing a try early in the game and maintaining a tough defense.

“It’s an awesome feeling coming into a game knowing that no one expects anything from you,” one New Brunswick player was quoted as saying. “Our team was underestimated and we worked our butts off so it’s nice to finally experience that victory.”

British Columbia 51 – Newfoundland Labrador 5
British Columba came out steaming and never really slowed the pace running in multiple tries and only allowed Newfoundland to break their line for five points once.

BC prop Randi Hunter rebounded from an ankle injury earlier in the day to kick three conversions and run in two tries at times carrying several Newfoundland tacklers on her back.

“We played really hard and fought with lots of intensity,” Hunter said after the match before commenting on tomorrow’s battle with Ontario. “It’s going to be a hard fought game. We’re going to throw everything at them and see what happens.”

Day One Results
U16 Men:
Alberta 22 – Saskatchewan 3
Ontario 31 – Newfoundland 0
British Columbia 40 – Alberta 0
British Columbia 48 – Newfoundland 3
Ontario 50 – Saskatchewan 0

U17 Women:
Quebec 17 – Saskatchewan 5
Alberta 7 – British Columbia 7
Ontario 41 – Quebec 0
British Columbia 28 – Saskatchewan 0
Ontario 27 - Alberta 0

Under 19 Women:
Ontario 59 – Newfoundland Labrador 0
Quebec 10 – New Brunswick 0
British Columbia 29 – Alberta 7
Quebec 28 – Newfoundland 0
British Columbia 31 – New Brunswick 7
Ontario 34 – Alberta 0


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