A rule limited the amount of national players in the Castaway-Wanderers’ starting lineup on Saturday the club showed there’s still plenty of depth on its roster.
The Castaway-Wanderers beat the UVic Vikes 28-27 in the first game back from the CDI Premier Rugby League’s mid-winter break.
The Vikes took an early lead at Windsor Park with a try from eight-man Dustin Dobravsky, followed by two from national sevens winger Beau Parker. A solid kicking demonstration by Vikes fly-half Patrick Kay – converting all three tries, a penalty and a drop goal – added to the total.
But it was all CW in the last 20 minutes, with size and experience pushing back over the youthful varsity squad.
Scoring for CW were props Hubert Buydens and Andrew Tiedeman, with second row Dylan Jones and winger Johnny Morris crossing the line late in the match. Four tries meant getting the much needed bonus point for CW, while UVic earned one for being within seven points.
The win puts CW (2-1) in third place with 11 points in the CDI Premier League. The Vikes sit in fifth.
“I thought it was a typical first game of the season; a bit scrappy,” said CW coach Lee Lindwall. “UVic has a lot of speed and talent and (they ran) away with it three times.
“(But) we did a lot of the running of the play, and played with a lot more possession, and so we should have, we’ve got a lot of really good players this half.”
While post-game talk centred around both squad’s high levels of skill and fitness, there was also a fair amount of chatter regarding roster changes and rules that affect them.
The B.C. Rugby Union owns a rule limiting the number of nationally carded players to three per starting roster in the premier league. University teams UVic and UBC aren’t affected, though UVic’s Bret Beukeboom was his side’s lone carded player – sevens stars Phil Mack (injured) and Sean Duke (away with national team) were unavailable Saturday.
“It keeps the playing field a bit even, but it keeps a lot of the top guys out of the competition,” said Vike Tony Lacarte, who played scrum half in place of Mack.
A former national level and CW player himself, Lacarte is playing out his university eligibility while studying geography. He is familiar with the many additions CW made for the winter season. They include both elite provincial and national level players crossing over from Velox and UVic to play for the reigning provincial champs.
Joining CW from UVic this year are national-level props Tiedeman and Toby Peyton. Though Peyton was only briefly carded by Rugby Canada in 2011, it was long enough to make him the odd man out on Saturday. Instead, Peyton played Div. 1, while Tiedeman lined up in the front row for CW’s premier team with Rugby World Cup teammate Hubert Buydens and ex-national Mike Pletch, in from Velox (along with versatile back Pita Savea). CW also boasts highly touted Ontario Blues scrum half Kyle Armstrong, who’s carded, but missed the world cup campaign rehabbing a long-term injury.
“Normally we wouldn’t play our carded guys in Div. 1,” Lindwall said. “But players want to come here because we provide such a good program. We’ll have to work within the rule.”
Bays hop to first
Across town on Saturday, James Bay hosted and defeated the up-and-coming premier team Abbotsford Rugby Football Club, 27-10.
The first-place Bays (3-0) secured a bonus point with four tries, as Zac Coughlan, Hugo Belanger, Morgan Williams and Adam Drury all scored. Winger Pat Fraser kicked for goal, converting two tries and a penalty.
The Bays could also be affected by the rule change but weren’t this weekend as Connor Braid is away with the sevens team and Sean White would be if not for injury.
The Velox Valhallians will play their second straight season in the Okanagan Spring Brewery Tier 1. Velox visit the Vancouver Rowing Club at Stanley Park’s Brockton Oval this Saturday (Feb. 4).