BURNABY — The rains eased up just in time Saturday afternoon as the second day of Stadium Series 2018 kicked off at Swangard Stadium.
And if you studied three of the four opponents who played in day’s first two matches, you couldn’t help but think back to this past June 1 when they comprised 75 per cent of the Final 4 at the B.C. Secondary Schools Rugby Association AA Tier 1 provincial championships at Abbotsford’s Rotary Stadium.
Victoria powerhouse and No. 1-ranked St. Michaels University School was a part at the prior foursome, and the three-time defending B.C. champion Blue Jags claimed a 23-8 win over West Vancouver’s Rockridge Ravens in the opener.
The second game, however, carried a little more intrigue, given the rematch plot line and the fact that Brentwood College defeated North Vancouver’s Collingwood Cavaliers 24-14 in last season’s provincial semifinals.
Yet after Brentwood College came out strong over the opening minutes of play, it was an interception which led to a long try by Collingwood’s Ethan Lucke that seemed to bring huge momentum with it, carrying the Cavs to a resounding 34-5 victory.
“The next time we play them, we won’t be that lucky,” said Collingwood coach Dave Speirs. “But this year, we have a lot of speed and our backs really put it together well in the first half. We were pleased with the way we played.”
Speed was a huge factor.
Lucke, who would scored three tries on the day, answered with another long one before the break, as did Cole Young, another speed merchant.
“(Lucke’s) really developed,” said Speirs. “He is really strong, has great pace and he’s got a good inside-out move now. And then Cole is a really fast kid, too.”
The two teams are not scheduled to meet again, so their paths would have to cross at provincials. From Collingwood’s perspective, it’s nice to know that they have the potential to do great things should they continue to grow their team each and every week out.
“We have 10 starters back and they all went through losing in last season’s semifinals,” continued Speirs. “They are a dedicated group and they worked hard in the offseason. They are ready to try to win it all.”
And speaking of winners, Speirs felt B.C. high school rugby shared in a collective victory with its Stadium Series, now in its second season of match-making interesting non-zone matchups in the lead-up to the provincial tournament.
“We really stressed to our kids that, while this stadium might not be anything by world standards, England has been here and over the years there have been some memorable games played here,” said Spiers. “So for us to get a chance to play on an amazing field like this… it’s great for high school rugby and one of the best ideas the B.C. committee has come up with.”
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