VICTORIA — The Vancouver Island boys rugby championships have set the stage for zone’s top teams to write the final chapters of their respective 2019 campaigns.
A total of 11 senior varsity sides from Vancouver Island will take part in the B.C. championship tournament which begins its four-day run Wednesday at Abbotsford’s Rotary Stadium.
Varsity Letters thanks its crack capital city bureau for this report, which captures the highlights from Quad-A right down to junior varsity:
SHAWNIGAN LAKE 48 OAK BAY 27
VICTORIA — In an excellent match, played in perfect conditions at UVIC’s Wallace Field, the Premier League-winning Shawnigan Lake Stags rode tries from seven different players, including captain Ciarin Breen, in addition to five conversions and a penalty goal by flyhalf Jamin Hodgkins to a comfortable victory over the defending provincial champion Barbarians.
For the gutsy Barbs, who closed to within seven points at 27-20 with eight minutes to play, fly half Jack Carson was again hugely influential, scoring three tries and adding another seven points with the boot. Powerful No. 8 Henry Down also crossed the line and was a physical force throughout.
The two sides meet again Wednesday in a B.C. Quad-A semifinal.
SMUS 57 BRENTWOOD COLLEGE 24
VICTORIA — St. Michaels University School rebounded from a slow start with six unanswered tries to lead Brentwood College 36-5 early in the second half.
The Mill Bay squad, having to compensate for the loss of star loose head prop Jacob Bossi, did fight back with scores from Arnau Torrent and Torren Kaiser to close the gap.
The Blue Jags, however, pulled away again, registering another three tallies to lead 57-17. Torrent completed his brace in the final minute, with a Blake Cleasby conversion making the final score 57-24.
Elvis Duru was on the end of several fine SMUS passing moves to touch down four times, with single tries scored by Josh Mao, Jin Woo Park, Ty Olynyk, Jacob Robb and Max Nishima. Will Kinahan added six conversions.
The two sides will face each other again in the opening semifinal round of the B.C. Tier 1 tourney this coming week in Abbotsford.
SHAWNIGAN LAKE — In the Vancouver Island title match played Wednesday, Victoria’s Claremont Spartans repeated as champs following a hard-fought 33-12 victory over the Nanaimo District Islanders.
Adam Geggie-Bowker, Michael Awor, Connor Way and Luigi de Majo contributed tries, with the latter also kicking two conversions and three penalty goals.
The Spartans now move on to the B.C. Triple A Tier 1 quarterfinals as the No. 7 seed, opening against the Fraser Valley runners-up and No. 2-seeded Yale Lions of Abbotsford.
The Islanders will enter the B.C. Triple A Tier 2 draw, meeting Richmond’s R.A. McMath Wildcats in first-round play.
Victoria’s Glenlyon Norfolk Gryphons, with Chris Graham and Noah Fekete combining for seven tries, defeated the Alberni District Armada 53-33 in a Tier 2 matchup. For the Armada, Cailin Gills, Mike Quach, Nick Smith and Dan Marriott were all prominent.
Additionally, Duncan’s Cowichan Thunderbirds hinted that it might be a Tier 2 sleeper pick, building a 26-0 halftime lead over Belmont before winning 40-15.
Logan Kits scored two of the Thunderbirds’ six tries, with Justin Marinier adding five converts. For the Bulldogs, Sterling May, Spencer Logan and Jordan Russell each notched a five-pointer.
SHAWNIGAN LAKE 56 SMUS 17
SHAWNIGAN LAKE — In the JV Island final, the host Shawnigan Lake Stags jumped ahead 21-0 vs SMUS in the opening quarter, en route to a 56-17 victory.
Both teams now enter the B.C. quarterfinals on Saturday, May 25. SMUS will play Langley, while Shawnigan entertains Brentwood. The games kick off at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. at UVIC. The winners move on to the B.C. Final 4 May 29 in Abbotsford.
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