Vancouver, BC (ISN) – Round six of the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League will feature a clash of two historic rivals when the Vancouver-based Meraloma Rugby Club travels to Vancouver Island to square off against James Bay Athletic Association.
The Lower Mainland schedule is highlighted by a rematch of the 2011 Miller Cup Final when Burnaby Lake Rugby Club plays host to Capilano RFC.
Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League – Sat. February 18th:
Abbotsford RFC at Castaway Wanderers RFC (Windsor Park) 2:45pm
Capilano RFC at Burnaby Lake Rugby Club (Burnaby Lake Sports Complex) 2:45pm
UVic Vikes at UBCOB Ravens RFC (Jericho Park) 2:45pm
Meraloma Rugby Club at James Bay AA (MacDonald Park) 2:30pm
Meraloma Rugby Club vs James Bay AA
At 1-3-1, the no.5 Meralomas have steadily been climbing the standings during the Spring season and will look to close the gap between them and the top four teams. After a dismal Fall season, the Lomas have gone 1-0-1 since the winter break and last weekend drew 28-28 with reigning Premier League champions Castaway Wanderers. Led by their charismatic captain Eric WIlson and the league’s second highest scorer in Bryan Tyrer (48 pts), the perennial contenders appear to have things back on track. The Lomas know what it takes to win in the province’s top flight, having made four straight appearances in the Rounsefell Cup final, and last won it all in 2009. The Lomas and reigning Vancouver Island champions James Bay (4-1) have had some historic battles in recent years, including both the 2009 and 2008 provincial finals. The ’09 championship game was a ruthless encounter which saw a last minute penalty by Loma’s kicker Eric Wilson seal a 11-10 win at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium.
The veteran Bays squad are currently tied for top spot in the standings, level at 19 points with Burnaby Lake Rugby Club and Castaway Wanderers. The Bays are fresh off a 31-6 win over UVic last weekend which saw them lift the 2011-2012 Vikes-Bays Challenge Cup. Leading the Bays offensively is Ontario product JT Rowbotham who has four tries and ranks 7th in overall scoring.
Capilano RFC at Burnaby Lake Rugby Club
For Lower Mainland rugby fans, Burnaby Lake Sports Complex will play host to one of the top matches in the entire Premier League rugby schedule. These two sides have been battling for top spot in in the region this year. Capilano (4-1) downed Burnaby by a score of 20-11 back in December’s Miller Cup Final, but it was Burnaby (4-0) who shocked their bitter rivals on January 28th, blanking Capilano 25-0 at Klahanie Park. For the first time in the series, Capilano are the underdogs and it’s Burnaby who have to put their perfect record on the line. Burnaby are fresh off a bye weekend while Capilano are riding high off a 43-8 win over UBCOB Ravens last saturday.
Leading the charge for Capilano is former Canada U20 scrum half Matt Yanagiya, who with 52 points leads the entire league in scoring. Ranked third in offensive production is Burnaby’s Jeke Gotegote who leads the league in try scoring with nine to his credit. Sparks will fly on Saturday and the winner will take home bragging rights as the top team in the Lower Mainland region.
UVic Vikes at UBCOB Ravens
Both the no. 6 Vikes (1-4) and no. 7 UBCOB Ravens (1-4) have struggled in the top flight this season, surprisingly after both sides advanced to the 2011 Premier League semifinals. The Vikes have been without their Canadian national sevens players Nathan Hirayama and Sean Duke who could give them the edge this weekend. The Vikes offensive output has been led by Canada U20 and Cowichan product Pat Kay who ranks fourth overall with 28 points. Dan Wainwright has been a bright spot for the Ravens ranking sixth overall with 22 points. The Ravens offence currently ranks last overall averaging just 10 ppg.
Abbotsford at Castaway Wanderers
The reigning Rounsefell Cup champions Castaway Wanderers (3-1-1) appear to be on course for another run to the cup. Their 29.6 ppg offence ranks second overall and features an arsenal of Canadian national team standouts. Speedster Jonny Morris, a member of the BC senior men’s provincial team leads CW in scoring with four tries but it has been the Oak Bay forward pack that continues to provide a steady platform for the attack. CW are skippered by new recruit and UVic grad Andrew Tiedemann, who partners with Rugby World Cup starter Hubert Buydens in the front row. Abbotsford (0-4) are still looking for their first win as they look to assert themselves as a Premier level club. The side has already eclipsed their 2011 season, as they have two bonus points in the standings. A win for the Fraser Valley’s only Premier League side is not far off but a young Abby squad will have a tough time this week against the reigning champs.
Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League – Sat. February 11th:
Burnaby Lake Rugby Club at Abbotsford RFC POSTPONED
UVic Vikes 6 – 31(+1) James Bay AA
Castaway Wanderers 28 (+1) – 28 Meraloma Rugby Club
UBCOB Ravens 8 – 43(+1) Capilano RFC