(From Andrew Smith at BC Rugby Union)
Vancouver, BC: Round seven of the 2012 Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League, British Columbia's elite club rugby competition, will feature the 'Battle of the Bays'. The 2012 edition promises to be a thriller as the reigning provincial champions Oak Bay Castaway Wanderers prepare to host the 2011 Vancouver Island champions James Bay Athletic Association.
Sat. February 25th - Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League:
Capilano RFC at Abbotsford RFC (CFV Exhibition Park) 2:45pm
Meraloma Rugby Club at UBCOB Ravens (Jericho Park) 2:45pm
James Bay AA at Castaway Wanderers RFC (Windsor Park) 2:45pm
Burnaby Lake Rugby Club at UVic Vikes (Wallace Field) 2:45pm
James Bay (5-1) vs Castaway Wanderers (4-1-1)
The matchup between these two sides, referred to as the "100 years war", has provided some top level rugby in recent years. Just one point separates no.1 Castaway Wanderers from no. 2 James Bay in the standings, as the two sides continue to jockey for Island supremacy. The two powerhouses already met in Premier League play back on November 19th at MacDonald Park, and it was James Bay who came away with the 15-10 victory. CW have welcomed back a number of national team players for the 2011-2012 season, however, and have not lost a match since the winter break. CW's offence of 30.67 points per game ranks second in the league, led by Jonny Morris who has crossed over for four tries this season. A balanced attack from the veteran Bays has been led by Ontario standout JT Rowbotham who also has four tries to his credit. Defensively, James Bay holds the upper hand allowing just 12 points against per game, while the CW offence has been averaging 19.67 points against.
The Lower Island derby, which promises to draw a large crowd, will see ticket revenue go towards a good cause. CW are supporting an initiative recently created as a result of the passing of 18-year-old Tessa Beauchamp of Surrey, BC. The gate revenue and donations will go towards the Tessa Beauchamp Bursary Program to support athletic scholarships, burn survivors and cancer research.
Meraloma (1-4-1) vs UBCOB Ravens (2-4)
Saturday's clash between Vancouver West teams no.5 Meraloma Rugby Club and no. 6 UBCOB Ravens will provide another exciting local derby match. The Ravens will be flying high after securing a last-gasp 26-25 win over the UVic Vikes last Saturday, courtesy of a conversion by Canadian Rugby World Cup standout Ed Fairhurst. The Ravens sit one point back of the Lomas in the standings, and this win will be crucial in terms of catching the top four teams in the standings. The Meralomas are still looking to find their footing in the 2012 Premier League season, having carried over three losses from the Fall competition. Since the winter break the Lomas have shown they are still in the running as the defeated Abbotsford 56-0, drew reigning champs CW 28-28 and narrowly lost 16-10 to Island champs James Bay. The Lomas lineup features a number of elite athletes including 2009 BC Player of the Year Eric Wilson, as well as Bryan Tyrer, who currently sits second in the scoring charts with 58 overall.
Burnaby Lake (4-1) vs UVic Vikes (1-5)
Burnaby Lake were knocked off their perch last Saturday, as the table leaders were dealt a stunning 28-8 loss by Lower Mainland rivals Capilano RFC. Burnaby's first loss of the season saw their league-leading offence unravel, notching just eight points, a far cry from their league best 34.4 ppg. Burnaby will look to bounce back against the struggling UVic Vikes, a team that currently sits seventh in the standings. When these two sides clashed back on February 4th, Burnaby were convincing winners with a final 41-12 decision.
Capilano (5-1) vs Abbotsford (0-5)
North Shore club no.3 Capilano RFC are on a roll. The club avenged their only loss of the 2011-2012 season last weekend, downing Burnaby at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex. The Caps will look to keep their momentum going against Abbotsford on Saturday, as they continue to hold down a top-four spot in the standings. Capilano's 25 ppg ranks third in overall scoring, and their main weapon continues to be Matt Yanagiya. A former Canada U20 scrum half, Yanagiya leads the league in scoring with 65 points, having notched three tries, eight penalties and a league-high 13 conversions. Abbotsford's offence has been reenforced by a number of former Bayside RFC products in recent weeks. The Fraser Valley squad could benefit from home field advantage, but will need a strong showing against Capilano's third ranked defence (11.67 ppg) to upset the reigning Lower Mainland champions.
Ceili's Cup League (Tier 1 First Division) - Sat. February 25th:
Capilano RFC at Abbotsford RFC (CFV Exhibition Park) 1:00pm
Meraloma Rugby Club at UBCOB Ravens (Jericho Park) 1:00pm
James Bay AA at Castaway Wanderers RFC (Windsor Park) 1:00pm
Burnaby Lake Rugby Club at UVic Norsemen (Wallace Field) 1:00pm