Down to the final four: Premier League Semifinals in Victoria this Saturday

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VICTORIA (ISN) – Vancouver Island sports fans will have the luxury of choosing between two matchups of top quality rugby this Saturday. The Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League semifinals will be hosted at James Bay’s MacDonald Park and Oak Bay’s Windsor Park.

The reigning Rounsefell Cup champions Oak Bay Castaway Wanderers (10-3-1) are at home to third-ranked Capilano RFC (10-4), a team that has beaten them in the regular season and looking to pull off a dramatic upset.

Across town James Bay (13-1) – who are undefeated at home – welcome the fourth-seeded Burnaby Lake Rugby Club (8-6) to MacDonald Park, . The perennial powerhouse James Bay have faltered in recent years when reaching the postseason and their playoff mettle will be tested against a fiery Lakers’ side looking to establish themselves as a top-four program in the province.

MATCH DETAILS:

Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League – Sat. May 5th:

SEMIFINAL 1: Burnaby Lake at James Bay AA (MacDonald Park) 3:00pm

SEMIFINAL 2: Capilano RFC at Castaway Wanderers (Windsor Park) 2:45pm

Burnaby Lake vs James Bay

The last two years have seen James Bay fall apart in the playoffs, eliminated in back-to-back seasons by cross town rivals the University of Victoria Vikes. Last year the Bays were dealt a 41-26 quarterfinal loss at MacDonald Park after going 5-2 in the regular season. This year the Bays are a perfect 7-0 at MacDonald Park, including a 28-13 win against Burnaby on March 31st. The Bays have plenty of fire power in their back line and have benefitted from the steady kicking of Connor Braid who ranked third in overall league scoring with 88 points. The Island squad are looking dominant heading into this weekend’s semifinal in pursuit of their first Rounsefell Cup appearance since 2009.

“James Bay are a fantastic team with a host of players to choose from who are currently in Canada shirts and they have a history of being in and winning finals,” said Burnaby head coach Kris de Scossa. “But playoffs are one-off matches and obviously the team that performs on the day wins the match.”

De Scossa’s squad have played year-round rugby with many suiting up for BC’s senior men’s provincial team this past summer in the Canadian Rugby Championship. Joe Dolesau, a key member of Burnaby’s side when healthy was recognized as the 2011 CRC co-player of the year. Burnaby will also challenge the Bays in the backs with Jeke Gotegote, who wrapped up the regular season with a league-topping 11 tries. Burnaby played the Bays tight at home, falling 21-15 on March 24th.

“In both our games I thought we had opportunities that maybe we didn’t take but I think we have learned from those mistakes,” De Scossa added. “Our goals this season were to be in the Premier League and then to make it to the top four and I think we have achieved that. Now we are going for the icing on the cake.”

Burnaby’s First Division (10-4) side will also be scrumming down against an Island opponent on Saturday, when they travel to Windsor Park to face off against the Castaway Wanderers (11-3). Burnaby are currently the defending champions in the Ceili’s Cup League.

 

Capilano vs Castaway Wanderers

A year after being relegated to the Tier Two competition Okanagan Spring Brewery League, North Shore outfit Capilano RFC have reestablished themselves as a dominant program in the province’s top tier. Capilano went 10-4, handing James Bay their only loss of the season (23 – 6) on February 4th and defeated reigning champions Castaway Wanderers 23-17 on March 31st. Both of those significant wins were at home, however, and the ultimate question remains if the squad can produce the results on the road. Capilano scrum half Matt Yanagiya finished second in league scoring with 119 points, 66 of those coming through conversions. This will be Capilano’s first semifinal appearance since 2010 where they fell 29-9 to Meraloma Rugby Club.

The reigning champs Castaway Wanderers have reloaded for another impressive Premier League campaign. Bolstering their lineup which already had plenty of national team caliber athletes, CW have had to juggle carded players to meet BC Rugby Union roster requirements. A steady presence in recent weeks has been Canadian international and World Cup fly half Ander Monro who has 57 points to his credit. The Oak Bay side went 6-1 in the second half of the season and are primed for a repeat championship run. Kick off on Saturday is slated for 2:45pm, with the Ceili’s Cup match versus Burnaby currently scheduled for 1:00pm.

Note: Semifinal matchups will also be hosted at Velox RFC (Saanich) in Third Division and Women’s Premiership play. At 11:00am the Women’s Adidas Premiership semifinal will be underway with the top seeded Velox Valkyries (9-0) at home to White Rock’s Bayside Athletic Association (5-4). In Men’s Third Division play at 1:00pm, the Velox Valhallians (8-1) are at home to Delta’s Brit Lions (6-2).

BC RUGBY WEEKEND SCHEDULE

MEN’S LEAGUES

Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League – Sat. May 5th:

SEMIFINAL 1: Burnaby Lake at James Bay AA (MacDonald Park) 3:00pm

SEMIFINAL 2: Capilano RFC at Castaway Wanderers (Windsor Park) 2:45pm

 

Ceili’s Cup League (Tier 1 First Division) – Sat. May 5th:

SEMIFINAL 1: Meraloma Rugby Club at Capilano RFC (Klahanie Park) 11:30am

SEMIFINAL 2: Burnaby Lake at Castaway Wanderers RFC (Windsor Park) 1:00pm

 

TIER 2: Okanagan Spring Brewery League One – Sat. May 5th:

PROVINCIAL FINAL: Vancouver Rowing Club vs Bayside Sharks (Klahanie Park, West Vancouver) 3:30pm

 

TIER 2: Okanagan Spring Brewery League Two – Sat. May 5th:

PROVINCIAL FINAL: Bayside Sharks vs Vancouver Rowing Club (Klahanie Park, West Vancouver) 1:30pm

 

TIER 3: The Province League One – Sat. May 5th:

PROVINCIAL FINAL: Langley vs Surrey (Crush Crescent – 21280 Crush Crescent, Langley) 2:30pm

 

TIER 3: The Province League Two – Sat. May 5th:

PROVINCIAL FINAL: Langley vs Surrey (Crush Crescent – 21280 Crush Crescent, Langley) 1:00pm

 

Province Wide Third Division – Sat. May 5th:

PROVINCIAL SEMIFINAL: Kats RFC at Kamloops RFC (Kamloops Exhibition) 1:00pm

PROVINCIAL SEMIFINAL: Brit Lions at Velox Valhallians (Velox RFC) 1:00pm

WOMEN’S LEAGUES

Women’s Adidas Premiership – Sat. May 5th:

SEMIFINAL 1: Bayside at Velox Valkyries (Velox RFC) 11:00am

SEMIFINAL 2: United Rugby Club at Burnaby Lake Rugby Club (Burnaby Lake Sports Complex) 11:30am

 

Big Kahuna Division One – Sat. May 5th:

PROVINCIAL FINAL: Nanaimo at Cowichan (Cowichan Rugby Club, Herd Road) 1:00pm

 

Langara Fishing Adventures Division Two – Sat. May 5th:

PROVINCIAL FINAL: Meraloma vs Burnaby Lake (Klahanie Park, West Vancouver) 10:00am

 

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