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September 30, 2012, VANCOUVER – The defending Rounsefell Cup champions Capilano RFC are still finding their footing with a new-look team in this year’s Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League. But after Saturday’s 43-21 win over the UBCOB Ravens it’s safe to say their hopes of defending their title look promising.

It wasn’t a dominant performance by Capilano who struggled in the set piece and at one point nearly conceded their lead when the Ravens converted a string of forwards phases to go over and narrow the scoreline to 21-26. The defending champs found a way to win however, and with three unanswered tries, pulled away for the bonus point victory.

“There was a moment there when we were within five points and I really thought whoever scored next would take the momentum and win the game,” said UBCOB Ravens head coach Aled Thomas. “I thought the scoreline flattered them a little bit, but in the end they were more clinical.”

Shorthanded and missing more than half their starting lineup and calling in retired players John Graaf and Jay Hartley, the Ravens had a series of strong phases throughout the game but failed to match the firepower of Capilano’s back line.

The Ravens started quick out the gates and recorded the first try when John Richards barrelled over to score and Patrick Watson converted to make it 7-0. The home side’s defence lapsed, however, and Capilano ran in four consecutive tries to jump out to a 26-7 lead. Outside centre Nate Rees crossed over three times, Brady Carpenter sprinted down the wing to dot down and scrum half Chris Robinson added three converts.

The Ravens would pull back a try before the half as Garner Lee went over and with another convert from Watson, made it 14-26. Watson was inconsistent from the tee and left nine points on the field with three missed penalties.

The second half opened with the Ravens keeping the ball in tight and after retaining possession for several minutes sniffing at the goal line, they were rewarded with a penalty. Richards quick tapped and crashed through for his second try of the day and Watson converted to make it 21-26.

“We definitely made it hard on ourselves,” said Capilano head coach Tom Larisch. “But we came through when it mattered. From 1-15 we had more depth and athleticism than they did. [And] we had Nate Rees who is a game breaker when we put him into space.”

The momentum began to swing back in Capilano’s favour and it was Rees who darted through for his fourth try to deflate the Ravens’ attack making it 31-21. Capilano’s hooker Todd Bavin and scrum half Robinson tacked on two tries and with another convert by Robinson, Capilano took the win and dropped the Ravens to 0-2 on the year.

“We are still very much a work in progress as quite a few guys are gone from last year’s team,” added Larisch with his team now sitting at 2-1. “We still need to get on the same page but we have the bye weekend to do that.”

Scoring Summary:

HT: Capilano 26, Ravens 14

FT: Capilano 43, Ravens 21

Capilano: Rees (x4 tries), Robinson (1 try, 4 conversions), Carpenter (1 try), Bavin (1 try)

UBCOB Ravens: Richards (2 tries), Lee (1 try), Watson (3 conversions)

Elsewhere in Premier League competition, the Castaway Wanderers bounced back from an opening week loss and defeated South Surrey’s Bayside Sharks by a score of 43-3. Premier League side UVic Vikes defeated the UBC Thunderbirds 52-28 in the first round of the Wightman ‘Boot’ series at Wallace Field and James Bay retained the Cox Cup with a convincing 64-7 win over Vancouver Rowing Club.

Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League – Sat. September 29th:

Capilano RFC 43(+1) – 21 UBCOB Ravens

Bayside AA 3 – 43(+1) Castaway Wanderers

Ceili’s Cup League (Tier 1 First Division) – Sat. September 29th:

Capilano RFC 48(+1) – 0 UBCOB Ravens

Bayside AA 31(+1) – 27(+2) Castaway Wanderers

Boot Game (Men’s) – Sat. September 29th:

UBC Thunderbirds 28 – 52 UVic Vikes

UBC Frosh 25 – 33 UVic Saxons

Cox Cup – Sat. September 29th:

James Bay AA 64 – 7 Vancouver Rowing Club

Ferguson Cup (First Division sides): James Bay 10 – 44 Rowers