Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League week 10 preview

VANCOUVER (ISN) – March 17th proved to be a memorable club day for Abbotsford RFC as the Fraser Valley outfit posted their first win in Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League play since returning to the province’s top tier in 2011.

The narrow 25-20 victory over the UVic Vikes was a momentous occasion for Abbotsford head coach Jason Young as his side looks to move up in the Premier League standings and secure a spot for the 2012-2013 competition.

Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League – Sat. March 24th:

  • Abbotsford RFC at UBCOB Ravens (Jericho Park) 2:45pm
  • Meraloma Rugby Club at Castaway Wanderers RFC (Windsor Park) 2:30pm
  • UVic Vikes at Capilano RFC (Klahanie Park) 2:45pm
  • James Bay AA at Burnaby Lake (Burnaby Lake Sports Complex) 2:45pm

Weekend Preview

Eight teams will make up the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League competition in 2012-2013 and this year’s last place team will be relegated to the Tier Two competition. That leaves Abbotsford – who are currently in 8th place with a 1-7 record – six weeks to move up the table.

The next two weekends will be crucial as Abby will face off against 7th place UBCOB Ravens (2-7) in back-to-back games. The Ravens currently sit four points ahead in the Premier League standings.

“For us every game is important,” said Abbotsford head coach Jason Young. “The Ravens are a great traditional club and back-to-back games with them home and away, you can’t ask for anything better than that.”

Abbotsford have been in the mix this season, narrowly losing 26-23 to the Vikes back on November 19th, and held Lower Mainland rivals Meraloma Rugby Club to a 17-8 score line on March 3rd. The win over UVic on March 17th was a long time in the making and well deserved according to Abbotsford’s head coach.

“The guys were happy. I told [them] a win would come and they would just have to be patient,” Young said. “Our goal is to be competitive in every game and I think we have achieved that.”

Abbotsford have benefited from strong leadership according to Young, as a number of key players have stepped up this season.

“We have many key players. Chris Chalmers, our Captain, has been outstanding at no. 8,” Young added. “Aaron Flagg, our tight head/second row has shown he can be a force in the league. Our veteran leadership from Harry Toews and Ryan McWhinney have also been great to help develop our youth.”

Abbotsford has a proud history of developing players through the age grade system and one standout making a name for himself is 19-year-old Ryan March. The youngster has played every minute of Abby’s Premier League season performing at either tight head prop or hooker and has held his own against the more senior players in the league.

Bolstering the ranks for Abby have also been transfers Chris Pack and Brodie Henderson, two players with national team experience. Pack has been Abbotsford’s top scorer this season, contributing 23 points through three penalties and seven conversions.

Abbotsford scrums down against the UBCOB Ravens at Jericho Park this Saturday where crucial points are at stake. The Ravens will look to bounce back from a 32-13 loss to table leaders James Bay last Saturday and will rely on lead scorer Dan Wainwright (31 pts) and World Cup standout Ed Fairhurst (15 pts) for offensive production.

“[UBCOB Ravens] are a great club with a lot of talented players and I expect a very physical game,” Young said. “I think our guys will be up for it, especially after the win over UVic.”

Around the league…

In a rematch of the 2011 CDI Premier League final, Meraloma Rugby Club (4-4-1) travels to Windsor Park to face off against the reigning champs Oak Bay Castaway Wanderers (6-2-1). These two sides battled to a 28-28 draw back on February 11th… Burnaby Lake Sports Complex will play host to a top four matchup as James Bay (8-1) looks to extend their five game win-streak against Burnaby Lake Rugby Club (6-2). Burnaby currently sits in third place and look to build on last week’s strong outing when they nearly pipped the reigning champ Castaway Wanderers at their home park, but eventually fell 24-20… North Shore outfit Capilano RFC (6-2-1) return home to Klahanie Park on Saturday to host the struggling University Vikes (1-8). The students are currently in 6th place, with just a point separating them and 7th place UBCOB Ravens.

Ceili’s Cup League (Tier 1 First Division) – Sat. March 24th:

  • Meraloma Rugby Club at Castaway Wanderers RFC (Windsor Park) 1:00pm
  • Abbotsford RFC at UBCOB Ravens (Jericho Park) 1:00pm
  • UVic Norsemen at Capilano RFC (Klahanie Park) 1:00pm
  • James Bay AA at Burnaby Lake (Burnaby Lake Sports Complex) 1:00pm