Welcome to Varsity Letters’ weekly B.C. high school boys rugby report.
CARSON GRAHAM 22 ST. GEORGE’S 19
NORTH VANCOUVER — Ethan Smith, square to the uprights with about one minute remaining, split the posts with a game-winning penalty kick, carrying North Vancouver’s Carson Graham Eagles to a 22-19 win over Vancouver’s St. George’s Saints in this past week’s lone Premier League 1st XV test.
The victory moved the Eagles into the No. 1 spot in the most recent Quad-A provincial rankings ahead of its Friday home test against No. 3 Shawnigan Lake.
St. George’s, meanwhile, coming off a B.C. 7’s title on Sunday, were pushed down to the No. 2 spot following the loss. Saints get back to Premier action Friday at home to Surrey’s No. 5 Earl Marriott Mariners.
“They are such a strong team,” Carson head coach Glen McKinnon said of Saints after the win in what was a re-match of last season’s top-tiered New Zealand Shield final won by St. George’s. “It’s nice to see that we are coming back and competing with those guys again and Ryan (Kerluck) has done a great job of re-growing the program.”
Kerluck, stepping back for a season from his usual head coaching role with Carson’s senior varsity, had to have liked the way the Eagles rallied from some early adversity.
St. George’s, after hosting three touring sides the previous week, came out firing, scoring an early try by No. 8 Patrick Feng for a 5-0 lead.
Carson Graham, however, took a 7-5 lead behind a try from flanker Austin James converted by Smith.
Prop Ian McTavish and Smith would add tries, one of which was converted, eventually bringing the match to a 19-19 stalemate ahead of Smith’s winning boot.
“The physicality we had in our forwards, that was huge for us and Mike (Stiles) even said it at the end of the day, how we took it to them,” added McKinnon. “But it was also awesome to see the depth that we now have and how it helped us win the day.”
Saints got top performances in the narrow loss from flanker Tate Litherland, lock Ao Ma and Feng.
WEST VANCOUVER 46 KITSILANO 0
WEST VANCOUVER — The visiting Blue Demons were shy on numbers as they paid the host Highlanders a visit.
The home side had a couple of starters out as well but that didn’t hold them back from running out to a 46-0 lead early in the second half.
Kits, later reduced to 12 players, were forced to concede the loss.
“We took full advantage of the dry, fast conditions and won some quick early ball that got our backs off and running,” said WVSS head coach Paul Welsh. “Our ball production is improving and when we get on the front foot we are dangerous.”
Captain Ben Welsh had been out with injury but returned to settle things down from fullback, scoring a try and returning to his goal-kicking duties. Winger Tom Boddington had two tries, one set up by an excellent catch-and-pass play from hooker Jason Lee. Pierson Stanley ran hard from the opposite wing and had a pair, while twins Matthew and Andrew Taylor ran hard from their positions in the front row.
West Van emptied its bench over the last 25 minutes, with Aidan Izadi, Gabe Labelle and Nolan Zen putting in strong performances.
LORD BYNG 60 ARGYLE 22
A run of 26 unanswered first-half points snapped an early 5-5 deadlock and carried Vancouver’s visiting Grey Ghosts to a 31-5 lead at the break en route to a decisive victory.
Team captain Landon Clironomos led the way with 28 points on four tries and four conversions. Halfback Nate Berrington-Dom added two tries in a little more than a half of action while Max Marshall, Quentin Watt, Finley MacDonald and Owen Disher rounded out the scoring.
NANAIMO DISTRICT 61 MARK ISFELD 0
Andrew Mattes, Carter Blakie, Matt McCandles, Dylan Cleaver, Yagnik Valand, Dan Ho and Harry Wicks all scored tries as the Islanders’ second XV came through in convincing fashion.
NDSS is yet to have a point scored on them by North Island opposition with the final regular season league game coming up on April 30 against Courtenay’s G.P. Vanier Towhees.
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