Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League Weekly Preview
Victoria, BC (ISN) – The reigning provincial champions Castaway Wanderers RFC will look to take down Burnaby Lake Rugby Club this weekend in a top four Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League clash.
Oak Bay’s Castaway Wanderers (5-2-1) currently sit second in the standings and will look to down Burnaby Lake (6-1), a Lower Mainland opponent currently in the midst of their best Premier League season in recent history. Burnaby, currently ranked third with a game-in-hand, are yet to do battle with table leaders James Bay or CW this season.
The Castaway Wanderers boast a number of World Cup veterans and carded players including front row standouts Hubert Buydens and Andrew Tiedemann. But due to a league restriction that limits teams to fielding just three carded players per game, CW have cemented their place as an elite program with players that coach Ian Hyde-Lay refers to as the ‘unsung heroes.’ Their roster includes standouts like Riley Ilnicki, Clayton Daum, Gord Kehoe and Matt Buckley. CW’s top scorer Paul Buckley has shouldered the kicking duties this season and currently ranks 6th in league scoring with 28 points overall. Hyde-Lay also points to the coaching staff CW has at the helm this season as Lee Lindwall, Spencer Robinson, Chris May and Noa Molia have all played their part in preparing the squad for the province’s top level.
“The ‘Carded’ players draw a lot of attention and deservedly so. Yet, as was the case last season, it is the unsung heroes who make a big difference,” said Hyde-Lay. “Paul [Buckley] is a rock at full back; steady, smart and a superb tackler. With [Canadian International] Ander Monro not yet back playing and Ciaran Hearn usually unavailable due to national sevens team commitments, Paul has also been taking on the goal-kicking responsibilities and done a very commendable job.”
While CW are the defending champs and have lost just twice this season, Hyde-Lay says the team is still yet to hit its peak.
“We have actually been a bit inconsistent so far. It remains a work in progress to fit all the new pieces together,” added Hyde-Lay. “We do have a lot of talented players and we managed to accumulate bonus points on all but one occasion.”
With six weeks remaining in the regular season, a bonus point win this weekend would see CW distance themselves from Burnaby in the standings and move closer to securing home field advantage in the playoffs.
Burnaby have been consistent this season and have lost just once since the winter break, a 28-8 defeat at the hands of Lower Mainland champions Capilano RFC on February 18th. The core of Burnaby’s team have played almost a year of straight rugby, several suiting up for the BC Senior Men’s provincial team that finished second in the Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) as well as the fall season where Burnaby finished as Lower Mainland runner-ups.
“We have guys that have played every single game this year and they are carrying injuries,” said Burnaby Lake head coach Kris de Scossa. “But having said that, some of these guys have been playing together for over three years and I think a major strength of our side is team unity.”
Burnaby have a formidable pack, including provincial team players Scott Mackay, Nate Mantle and Andrew Lackner, which should make for an interesting matchup with CW’s forwards. Burnaby also boast a number of flyers in the backs including the league’s leading try-scorer Jeke Gotegote who has dotted down ten times this season. When healthy, a threat in the centres has also been Joe Dolesau who was recognized as co-Player of the Year in the 2011 Canadian Rugby Championship.
“I watched some of the Burnaby players this past summer in the CRC. Joe Dolesau, among others, was just terrific and without question the most dangerous attacker in the competition,” added CW’s Hyde-Lay. “I just hope the weather holds [this weekend] and both teams play positively. This will allow for some fast, free-flowing rugby.”
Around the League…
No. 4 Capilano RFC (6-2) will square off against historic rivals no. 5 Meraloma Rugby Club (3-4-1) at Connaught Park in Kitsilano this Saturday. The match could come down to a kicking duel between the league’s top scorers; Capilano RFC’s Matt Yanagiya (85 pts) and Meraloma’s Bryan Tyrer (64 pts). Table leaders James Bay Athletic Association (7-1) are on the road this weekend to face off against the struggling no. 6 UBCOB Ravens (2-6). The no. 7 UVic Vikes (1-7) will look to bounce back from one of the worst defeats in school history, last weekend’s 74-13 loss to CW, when they travel to winless Abbotsford RFC (0-7).
Ceili’s Cup League (Tier 1 First Division) – Sat. March 17th:
UVic Norsemen at Abbotsford RFC (CFV Exhibition) 1:00pm
Capilano RFC at Meraloma Rugby Club (Connaught Park) 1:00pm
Burnaby Lake Rugby Club at Castaway Wanderers RFC (Windsor Park) 1:00pm
James Bay AA at UBCOB Ravens RFC (Jericho Park) 1:00pm