BC Bears hang on for 31-30 victory over Atlantic Rock

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When it comes to championship rugby, the result is more important than how you got it. For the BC Bears, they can return home from the Canadian Rugby Championships (CRC) in Calgary feeling relieved that they have a win to show for their efforts. The Bears held on for a 31-30 victory over a scrappy and resilient Atlantic Rock side in the 3rd place final earlier this morning.

Leading by a single point late in the game, the Bears dodged a pair of bullets fired from the boot of Rock kicker Patrick McNicholas, as his potential game winning penalties sailed just wide from 42m and 52m respectively. The Rock had fought their way back into the game after trailing by 8 points with just over ten minutes to play.

The Bears were unable to put the game away, despite a number of yellow cards being issued to the Rock. Those included a pair of cards and a sending off to looshead prop Frank Walsh. The Rock had also lost playmaking centre Charles Debove to injury early in the second half.

Given these advantages, the Bears were able to stay in the driver’s seat, but never really looked to have their foot on the gas. What they did show, however, were several clever moments of opportunism.

Jorden Sandover-Best made use of a quickly taken penalty to score a try from close distance, while Sean Ferguson ran one in on a penalty from further out. Giuseppe du Toit made the key play of the second half. Following some quick passing through the line to Kimi Vunituraga, an offload pass went to ground and the play looked to be over, but du Toit reacted very quickly to the loose ball, collected it cleanly and dashed the final five metres to score the try.

The Bears trailed moments before the halftime break, but earned several penalties inside the 22m line in quick succession before finally spinning the ball into the hands of winger Kimi Vunituraga for his first try as a BC Bear. The Bears went into the locker rooms with a 14-10 lead.

Prior to that try, the Bears had only been able to score from distance through the boot of du Toit, who went 3 for 3 on penalty kicks in the first half.

The third place finish matches BC’s result in the 2014 CRC campaign. Several of their players will be hoping for selection to team Canada at the upcoming Pacific Nations Cup, which begins against Tonga on July 24th from Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, BC.

Bears scoring:
Tries – Giuseppe du Toit (1), Kimi Vunituraga (1), Jorden Sandover-Best (1), Sean Ferguson (1)
PK – du Toit (3)
Conversions – du Toit (1)

Rock scoring:
Tries – Debove (1), McNicholas (1), ?? (1)
PK – McNicholas (3)
Conversions – McNicholas (3)

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