Tale of Two Halves: Bears Clinch Win in First 40 - Wolf Pack Storm Back Last 20 to Close Gap
The Bears looked good in the first 40 and the Wolf Pack did their best to oblige with dropped balls and sloppy play. There were moments of good rugby but overall for the top level of Canadian rugby, it's not good enough.
It's what happens when players are quickly assembled, have little time together and have to adapt to new coaches and systems.
The coaches didn't help with their selections, a centre playing wing, a loose forward playing second row, it's a disjointed effort but at least it gives the national coach a chance to evaluate players.
The BC Bears backline upped their game, 3 of the 4 try scorers in the 1st half didn't get the start in game one. Theo Sauder scored the first try off a broken play, Pitblado almost messed up the tap penalty but had enough time to gather it on the bounce and feed Sauder who dove over. The defenders may have thought it was a knock on and eased up so it worked to BC's advantage in the end.
BC second try was a result of a Wolf Pack error out wide, BC jumped on the errant pass, Sauder to Meeres who did most of the work to beat the fullback and score.
The third try was a nice inside pass from Sauder to du Toit who found Pitblado in support to cross the line. The final try of the half was simply Ferguson finding himself up against a prop in open play and he scooted through for the try.
It was a comfortable 29-3 lead at half time but as subs were rung in the momentum was quickly lost and the Wolf Pack were the dominant side for the last 20 as they outscored BC 17-8 in the second 40 for a 37-20 final scoreline. Scoring for BC in the second 40 was Travis Larsen and for the Wolf Pack Grant Crowell, Jake Bentley, Evan Thomas.
Looking forward to possible national team selections, who looked good. Luke Campbell is solid, Kingsley Jones likes his work rate, he'll likely be in the loose forward selections come November. Clayton Meeres has always impressed in XVs and 7s and can play centre or wing. He was subbed off at half time for Nieuwenhuysen who is a good centre but not a wing. Not sure what the coaching staff are thinking or why they keep doing that. Jared Douglas and Sean Ferguson both looked good, again top 7s or XVs players and were a big reason the backline looked better today. Shea Wakefield took kickoffs well but threw that interception pass that opened the door for the Wolf Pack comeback. Theo Sauder improved his game from the previous outing but the timing and decision making is still not 100%. Pitblado has looked the best scrum half for either side so far after two games. John Braddock had a positive effect on the BC scrum when he came on.
For the Wolf Pack, Ben LeSage still looks the top centre of both teams. Cole Davis looks dangerous when he gets a step but generally was contained today. Grady Bowd had a quieter game and was moved to fullback in the 2nd half to allow Povey a shot at #10. James O'Neill always impresses with his combative style, he's going to be a mainstay of the senior side once his U20 duties are over. Grant Crowell had a quieter game but when a big ball carrier was needed he stepped up and scored a try on a solo effort. Jake Bentley is a good finisher and scored another today.
Both teams can play better rugby, for BC the early subs didn't help the flow of the game for them, for the Wolf Pack they showed their potential in some of the multi-phase work near the end of the game. Hopefully both teams will bring their A games to the tournament in Calgary in 3 weeks.
BC Bears Announced Roster for Return Match vs Wolf Pack on Friday
[ed. live stream at http://www.bcrugby.com/live/ ]
A few changes to the side that lost at the whistle last Friday in Calgary. Clint Lemkus is out, possible injury although he's listed on the Canada tour to France. Liam Murray gets the start with Blake Van Heyningen and Nik Hilderbrand getting called into the squad. Steve Ng gets the start at hooker.
Travis Larsen is brought into the second row and pairs up with Wakefield. In the loose forwards Ollie Nott sits on the bench and Nathan Stewart gets the start, Dobravsky and Campbell return as starters.
James Pitblado earns the start and Jorden Sandover-Best moves to the bench at #9. Theo Sauder returns at #10 as do the centres Fraser and du Toit. Outside Jared Douglas earns the start, Sean Ferguson comes into fullback and Clayton Meeres gets the other wing assignment.
One area the Bears need to improve this match is the backline, they were firing on half the cylinders in the last match and sputtered and lurched ahead for 80 minutes. Hopefully with some practice time in they'll hit their timing patterns better and passes will go to hand. The outside combination has been upgraded with Jared Douglas, Clayton Meeres and Sean Ferguson starting. It's a wait and see scenario.
In the forwards Travis Larsen should add some grit to the tight five, Lemkus is unavailable but it was a fairly even battle last time.
For the Wolf Pack Nick Blevins is unavailable which will downgrade their attack a bit but Mozac Samson may come into the starting role as replacement.
The live stream should be working this week with the BCRU running operations. Kickoff is at 7pm, the live link to be posted beforehand.from BCRU
Vancouver, BC - August 2, 2018: BC Rugby is excited to announce the roster for the BC Bears ahead of their Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) match against the Prairie Wolfpack, which kicks off this Friday at 7pm at Klahanie Park. The Bears suffered a close loss to the Wolfpack last Friday in Calgary but have the opportunity to turn the two-legged tie around when the teams face off on Friday night on in North Vancouver.
This match is the only time BC fans will get to see the Bears in action in the 2018 CRC campaign. Taking place at the storied Klahanie Park, the game will surely be an entertaining affair, both teams well-matched. In the Bears’ favour is the result from the last time the two teams met on BC soil when they beat the Wolfpack comprehensively 43-0 at UBC in 2017.
Coach Jebb Sinclair credited the seven changes in the lineup to knicks and knocks taken in the last game. “A lot of the changes are due to injury and a lot of the changes are based on guys who have been coming to training and working hard”. The Bears certainly want to put up big points against the Wolfpack, but Sinclair intimated that their game plan would stay relatively the same. “I think on attack, we probably did some things right, but didn’t execute well enough. The defense was sort of a sore area for the coaching staff. A lot of players are new to that BC level and the sort of aggression that is required, they need to adjust”, he added. According to Sinclair, the Bears are feeling confident moving forward. He cites that they wouldn’t be a good team or good competitors if they were satisfied with a loss, but the team and coaching staff are feeling positive going into Friday’s match.
James Pitblado gets the start at halfback this week, with Jordan Sandover-Best coming off the bench. Sinclair said they need the #9s to have more command, “We’re looking for them to control the game a bit more. They’re obviously two young, very good players, but in any game, the halfbacks are sort of the whole lynchpin for everything”.
This is sure to be an exciting game with the Bears looking for a big win on home soil. It will be interesting to see how they respond and if they can demonstrate that extra level of play they reached during last week’s second half. Lots of new players are coming into this week’s game, giving the team somewhat of a new look.
While the Bears won’t repeat last year’s clean sweep of the Canadian Rugby Championships, they still have tons to play for when the game kicks off at Klahanie this Friday. The winner of this two-legged tie gets top seeding in the semi-final games in Calgary against Ontario Blues / Atlantic Rock on August 23rd before hopefully reaching the Final on August 26.
Tickets for the match will be available at the gate and cost $10. Children and high school students with valid ID get in free of charge and there will be a bar service provided by Capilano RFC in their clubhouse. As a warm up to the game, the BC U14 Boys’ Representative team will be playing a match against Washington State, with that game kicking off at 5.45pm.
For information on the game, as well as a link to the live stream, go to bcrugby.com/bears and stay tuned to our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
BC Bears Roster vs. Prairie Wolfpack - August 3rd 2018
1 Noah Barker - JBAA (Courtney, BC)
2 Steven Ng - James Bay RFC (Ottawa, ON)
3 Liam Murray - James Bay RFC (Langley, BC)
4 Travis Larson - JBAA (Parksville, BC)
5 Shea Wakefield - James Bay RFC (Victoria, BC)
6 Dustin Dobravsky - Castaway Wanderers RFC (Hanover, Germany)
7 Nathan Stewart - Castaway Wanderers RFC (Victoria, BC)
8 Luke Campbell - JBAA (Victoria, BC)
9 James Pitblado - Uvic Vikes (Victoria, BC)
10 Theo Sauder - UBC Thunderbirds (Vancouver, BC)
11 Clayton Meeres - JBAA (Chilliwack, BC)
12 Guiseppe DuToit - Uvic Vikes (Victoria, BC)
13 Doug Fraser - Castaway Wanderers RFC (Victoria, BC)
14 Jared Douglas - Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
15 Sean Ferguson - UBCOB Ravens (Vancouver, BC)
16 Blake Van Heyningen - JBAA (Courteney, BC)
17 John Braddock - Castaway Wanderers RFC (Victoria, BC)
18 Nik Hilderbrand - Burnaby RFC (Nanaimo, BC)
19 Jason Hignell - Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
20 Ollie Nott - Uvic Vikes (Victoria, BC)
21 Jordan Sandover - Best - UBCOB Ravens (Abbotsford, BC)
22 Mike Nieuwenhuysen - James Bay RFC (Victoria, BC)
23 Josh Theil - Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Coach - Dean Murten (Vancouver, BC)
Coach - Jebb Sinclair (Vancouver, BC)
Coach - Scott Manning (Victoria, BC)
Coach - Mario Domingues (Vancouver, BC)
Coach - Angel Coividanes (White Rock, BC)
Manager - Des Lynch (Victoria, BC)
BC Bears’ Canadian Rugby Championship Schedule
Bears 24-27 Wolfpack @ Calgary, AB – July 27, 6pm
Bears vs Wolfpack @ Klahanie Park, BC - August 3rd, 7pm
Bears vs. Ontario Blues/Atlantic Rock @ Calgary, AB – August 23rd 4pm
3rd Place Playoff – August, 11am
CRC Final – August 26th, 1pm
(All above schedule times in PDT)from Wolf Pack
Jake Bentley - Calgary Canucks
Gradyn Bowd - Red Titians / University of Victoria
FJ Bronkhorst - Calgary Canucks
Gareth Brown - Nor’Westers
Hubert Buydens - Saskatoon Wolf Oats / NOLA Gold
Grant Crowell - Calgary Rams
Cole Davis - Calgary Saints
Mark Discombe - Regina Rouges
Riley Fahlman - Regina Champion Grads
Cam Hall - Strathcona Druids
Gabrial Kajdy - Calgary Canucks
Marko Klimenko - U of M Wombats
Ryan Kotlewski - Calgary Saints / Westshore RFC
Ben LeSage - Calgary Canucks / UBC
Kyle Morrison - Nor’Westers
James O’Neill - Calgary Canucks / University of Victoria
Robbie Povey - Calgary Hornets
Joshua Pritchett - Calgary Rams
Jordan Roberts - St. Albert RFC
Tyler Rockwell - Bow Valley
Mozac Samson - Calgary Saints / Seattle Seawolves
Evan Thomas - LeprechaunTigers
Conor Turner - Calgary Hornets