Vancouver Island and Fraser Valley to battle for Dunbar Keg
Published Tuesday, July 26, 2011 5:00 am
by Andrew Smith, BC Rugby Communications

Vancouver, BC: The Vancouver Island Rising Tide and Fraser Valley will face off this Saturday for the historic 'Dunbar Keg' in the BC Rugby Men's Under-20 provincial final.

Match Details - Vancouver Island vs Fraser Valley
Date: Saturday, July 30th, 2011
Time: 12:30pm Kick Off
Location: Klahanie Park, West Vancouver
Competition: Dunbar Keg (BC Rugby Men's Under-20 Championship)

Vancouver Island on the rise
Things are looking up for the Vancouver Island Rising Tide, a program that hasn't had much success at the U20 level in recent years. The Island squad went winless for several seasons, including an 0-4 campaign in 2010 where they were outscored 162-39. The Rising Tide have turned things around this year, however, going 2-0 in pool play and advancing to the provincial championship as the top seed.

"The main difference this season is that we've had some extraordinary commitments from our players, especially a core group out of Cowichan," said Vancouver Island head coach Ken Goodland. "There is a group of guys that have been playing senior rugby and their experience has really shown. We also have a number of experienced younger players that were apart of this program last year and are now playing well with another season under their belts."

A key member of the Island roster has been Canadian international and Cowichan product Carlin Hamstra. The fly half has shouldered the kicking responsibilities during the 2011 campaign, contributing 16 points in their 46-24 win over reigning champs Vancouver Wave, and another 11 points in the Rising Tide's 36-29 victory over Fraser Valley.

"Having Carlin's experience at 10 has gone such a long way, especially with a relatively inexperienced forward pack," added Goodland. "Carlin also plays well off our inside centre Doug Fraser, and together they run our back line and direct our forwards."

Hamstra's fellow Cowichan team mates Scott MacLeod, Malcolm Sacht and Bruce Moss have all played senior club rugby with the Piggies and their confidence is rubbing off on their teammates. 

After watching Fraser Valley nearly reverse a 25-point deficit against his team two weeks ago, Goodland says his team will need a complete effort in this weekend's rematch.

"It's the old cliche where we just have to put a solid 80 minutes of rugby together in order to beat the Valley," added Goodland. "We're expecting them to strike quickly as they have some deadly runners. Their energy level will be off the charts and we're going to have to match it."

Valley looking to end championship drought
It's been a long wait for the Fraser Valley Under-20 team who have played second fiddle to the Vancouver Wave since last capturing the provincial title in 2007.

Fraser Valley downed the Wave 36-27 last week, eliminating the defending champs from the competition.

The Valley squad is still yet to play to their full potential, however, according to head coach Marc Filiatrault.

"I think the main thing we have to worry about this weekend is ourselves," Filiatrault said. "We just have to do the simple things right and stop making as many mistakes as we have been. When we played the Island a couple weeks ago, they capitalized on our mistakes and that's what cost us." 

Valley fly half Pat Shields has been a key leader in their 2011 campaign and Filiatrualt is looking to him for another big showing on Saturday.

"Pat will be our captain again this week as he continues to lead by example," Filiatrault added. "He is playing some amazing rugby right now. He is the guy on the field that really leads this team and brings us all together."

While the Valley's back line boasts a number of lethal scorers in Clayton Meeres and Canadian Under-20 standout Kurtis Appeldoorn, Filiatrault says the final may be decided by which team's forwards are able to perform.

"When we played the Tide you could see our forwards really start to build momentum and set up some nice ball for our backs," Filiatrault added. "The key is going to be our scrum and we're especially going to need a big game from our back row."

For a number of players at this age group, this is the final step before transitioning to full senior men's rugby, a key period in their rugby careers.

"This will probably be the last time a lot of these guys play alongside each other," added Filiatrault. They have been through the age grade programs together and for a lot of them, this will be their last opportunity to play together. This is an opportunity that they will remember for the rest of their lives."

2011 BC U20 Dunbar Keg Results
Sat. July 9: Vancouver Island Rising Tide 46 - 24 Vancouver Wave
Sat. July 16: Vancouver Island Rising Tide 36 - 29 Fraser Valley
Fri. July 22:  Fraser Valley 36 - 27 Vancouver Wave
12:30pm - Sat. July 30: Dunbar Keg Provincial Final (Klahanie Park, West Vancouver)

Ticket Info
The Under-20 final will be a curtain raiser for the Canadian Rugby Championship opener between British Columbia and The Rock at Klahanie Park. Tickets for both games are $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for youth (under 15 years of age).

About the Dunbar Keg Competition
Three regional representative teams will contest for the historic Dunbar Keg this summer in the revamped British Columbia Rugby Men's Under-20 Championship. The Vancouver Wave, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island Rising Tide will compete in a round-robin competition, accruing points towards a championship appearance on July 30th. These three teams had previously competed against one another in the Pacific Conference of the now-annulled Rugby Canada Junior National Championship.


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