Pacific Pride v Seattle Match – December 2023

Pacific Pride, Rugby Canada Academy, Defeat Seattle 40-15: Photo Essay

It was a rainy day at Starlight Stadium in Langford. Due to the late start at 3:45pm the 2nd half of the match was played in the dark under the lights, rain and dark, not a photographers friend. With the camera ISO cranked up the photos were grainy but this is what I captured.

#8 Matt Klimchuk provides a formidable obstacle to Seattle #10 Devereaux Ferris who looks to distribute the ball wide

Seattle #9 Zander Tkel provides clean ball from the ruck,

The #8s collide, veteran Kellen Gordon for Seattle and Matt Klimchuk for the Pride. In April’s match Gordon got the better of the battle but this time Klimchuk had the upper hand, a testament to his growth over the last 8 months.

The Pride lineout was working well, this is Karl Hunger in the red scrum cap winning the ball.

It was good to see veteran referee John de Goede out patrolling the sidelines as AR

This is a sequence of photos that captures the line break by #11 Rhys James. Noah Flesch runs a good support line and will eventually score the try.

Some nice evasive running by the winger as he looks to beat the fullback, the last defender.

The fullback, I believe that’s Jonny Reid, makes his tackle but #11 is able to offload to Flesch who is being tracked by a defender.

Noah Flesch has a bit of work to do to score the try, he skips out of an attempted ankle tackle and has the pace to beat the cross cover defence.

James Thiel, with the red boots, is easy to identify. Athletic like his brothers, he leaps high to secure the up and under, and takes it on the chin. It’s the second half now and darkness has set in, players have to adapt to picking the ball out of the overhead lights.

The Seattle player looks to chip and chase this ball past the last defender. In pursuit are Noah Flesch and Ian Jones.

James Thiel leaps high, perhaps saving a try, and blocks the kick with one hand. The Seattle sideline look hopeful that this is a scoring opportunity.

Thiel looking Ninja like floats in the air with the ball while the Seattle player is waiting for it to bounce on the other side. Thiel is able to retain possession.

The Pride take advantage of the turnover and there’s a two on one break down the wing, with both wingers working together, an indication of good work rate. Which way will the defender go and will the Pride players be able to execute a scenario they’ve probably practiced 100 times in training?

The defender guesses wrong and anticipates a sure pass, #14 Ben Russell sells the dummy and uses his pace to beat cross cover defence for a score.

The try scorer looks pleased with a job well done. The Pride were up by at least 4 tries at this point. The rain and lighting made the photography a challenge and this scribe took shelter. The reported final was 40-15 for the Pride, avenging the loss in April.

The Pacific Pride, Rugby Canada Academy, Face Off Against Seattle at Starlight Stadium on Saturday

These teams met in April of this year with Seattle claiming a convincing 44-19 win. On that day Kellen Gordon the prop turned #8 was dominant in the contact area and the #10 Jonny Reid showed his class with the boot as he kept the Pride playing in their own end for most of the match. For the Pride the reserve second row Jaiden John was one of their best players and AJ Kosemple was dangerous on the wing.

We’ve listed Saturday’s rosters below, the Pride includes their previous match roster from last weekend, a close loss to the Ravens. For Seattle we’ve included their previous roster from that April match vs the Pride as they’re not playing in the BC Premier this season and we don’t have their roster from last week. We’ve also listed the Pride roster from that April matchup separately for comparison.

Seattle have 10 players returning from April, tighthead Liam Noone, openside Matt Potter, #8 Kellen Gordon and #9 Zander Tkel. Jonny Reid moves from #10 to fullback and Ian Wright moves from fullback to outside centre. Coming off the bench to start in this match are loosehead prop Lu Alainuuse and hooker Ethan Smith. Inside centre Patrick Nglam moves to the bench and Joe Keane returns in the reserves. There are 7 players with Seattle Seawolves connections marked with an (s), one player drafted by Dallas (d).

The Pride have a few changes from last week, Matt Klimchuk returns from national (n) team duty to start at #8, the same position he had in April’s match. Jesse Kilgour starts at scrum-half and Karl Hunger in the second row. Returning from the April match are Reid Davis, Karl Hunger, Ben James, Matt Klimchuck, Jesse Kilgour, James Thiel, AJ Kosempel, Noah Flesch, Jaiden John, Brady White, Ben Russell and Charles Taimani.

Kickoff is at 3:45pm, there is no live stream.

Pride (previous match/current match)

1 Spencer Cooper
2 Sam Mace
3 Tyler Matchem
4 Reid Davis
5 Jaiden John / Karl Hunger
6 Ben James
7 Von Richardson
8 Charles Taimani / Matt Klimchuk (n)
9 Brady White / Jesse Kilgour
10 James Thiel
11 AJ Kosempel
12 Noah Flesch
13 Liam Poulton
14 Ian Jones / Rhys James
15 Rhys James / Tyler Driscol
16 Noah Kyneston / Austin Creighton
17 Aaron Pacha / Theo Espagnol
18 Theo Espagnol
19 Karl Hunger / Alastair Bruce
20 Braden Bruce / Jaiden John
21 Paddy Kirwin / Braden Bruce
22 Justin Taylor / Charles Taimani
23 Tyler Buchanan / Brady White
24 Ian Jones
25 Tyler Buchanan
26 Ben Russell

Seattle (previous match/current match)

1 James Kuahiwinui / Lu Alainuuse
2 Mike Faust / Ethan Smith
3 Liam Noone
4 Chase Bates / Jamie Demers (s)
5 Ben Seest / Isaia Latowa (s)
6 Joe Evans / Adam Page (s)
7 Matt Potter
8 Kellen Gordon (s)
9 Zander Tkel
10 Jonny Reid / Devereaux Ferris (s)
11 Tavione Rodgers / Noah Wright (d)
12 Patrick Nglam / Joey Lincoln
13 Matt Brennan / Ian Wright
14 Joey Lincoln / Tavion Rogers
15 Ian Wright / Jonny Reid
16 Ethan Smith / Caleb Lind
17 Lu Alainuuse / James Kuahiwinui (s)
18 Alex Cannon / Freddy Tafuna (s)
19 Tim Viani / Tomasi Puletu
20 Jack Cannon / Dennis Munter
21 Matt Hannon / Patrick Nglam
22 Joe Keane / Nicholas Cohenour
23 Jonah Auvaa
24 Falani Jennings
25 Joe Keane
26 Jack O’Connor

Pride Team from April vs Seattle

1. Aaron Clark
2. Witt Nevins
3. Scott Bowers
4. Reid Davis
5. Karl Hunger
6. Ben James
7. Zephyr Melnyk
8. Matt Klimchuk
9. Sam Reimer
10. Justin Taylor
11. AJ Kosempel
12 Noah Flesch
13 Oliver Mackenzie
14 Christian Coppin
15 James Thiel
16 Jace Peters
17 Jaiden John
18 Cam Hayward
19 Charles Taimani
20 JC Vinette
21 Brady White
22 Jesse Kilgour
23 Ben Russell

Posted in Front Page, Rugby Canada.