VICTORIA - The 2011 Women's Adidas Premiership finalists Burnaby Lake Rugby Club and Velox Valkyries will scrum down in Victoria on Saturday, in their first meeting since Burnaby lifted the Harris Memorial Cup last May.
STANDINGS / FULL SCHEDULE
Women's Adidas Premiership Schedule - Sat. March 24th:
Burnaby Lake at Velox Valkyries (Velox RFC) 11:30am
UVic Vikes at Capilano RFC (Klahanie Park) 11:30am
SFU Rugby at United Rugby Club (Hume Park) 11:30am
Bayside RFC at Meraloma Rugby Club (Connaught Park) 11:30am
The 2011 provincial final ended with Burnaby Lake speedster Melissa Miyazaki scoring an intercept try in the dying seconds to see her side win the Harris Memorial Cup with a 17-13 victory. Since their matchup last May, both sides have gone undefeated in regional and province wide competition.
Burnaby Lake's women's program went on to win the 2011 BC Sevens Series provincial title and went undefeated in the Fall to win the Women's Lower Mainland Tier One title. Burnaby are now sitting on top of the 2012 Adidas Premiership standings with a 6-0 record and 28 points overall.
The Velox Valkyries went undefeated during the Fall regional season, retaining their Vancouver Island Women's league championship. Velox are now 5-0 in Adidas Premiership play and trail Burnaby by three points with a game-in-hand. Saturday will be a chance for redemption for Velox as they take on the defending champs with home field advantage.
"We have tried not to focus too much on that game so emotions don't get in the way of a level headed game plan," said Velox head coach Aaron Frisby. "But obviously with 10 starters from last year's final playing this weekend, it will definitely be in the back of their minds."
Velox has added depth to their squad this season, welcoming UVic grads Jesse Olynyk and Chelsey Minter to their lineup. Olynyk is currently ranked as the Premiership's second-highest scorer and leads the league in tries with nine tallies this season. Courtney Blum also joined the Valkyries via Toronto and has excelled in the back line, performing in the centres.
"I think our defence has been our strength, especially inside our own 22. Our ability to retain possession has helped us on attack," added Frisby. "Natalie Tam at scrum half has strengthened our attack around the rucks immensely and Chelsey (lock) has been a devastating ball runner. To be perfectly honest we have different players putting in stellar performances each weekend… which has given us strength in most facets of our game.
Velox currently lead the league offensively averaging 46.3 points per game, but Frisby is well aware of Burnaby's offensive abilities. Burnaby's lineup currently boasts the league's top scorer in Julia Sugawara who has 57 on the season. Laura Harmse has recorded five tries for Burnaby, and Deb Capps has crossed over for four.
"I think we will see a very structured game from Burnaby with a lot of well placed kicks in behind our back line," Frisby said of this weekend's opponents. "I think the key to success will be dealing with those kicks and also shutting down their playmakers at no.9 and 10 from running."
Kick off is set for 11:30am at Velox's rugby ground, located at 3957 Gordon Head Road.
Around the league…
Third place United Rugby Club (3-1) will look to close in on the table leaders this weekend when they host SFU Rugby (1-5) at Hume Park… Capilano (1-5) are at home to the UVic Vikes (1-3). The Vikes are fresh off their first win of the season and will look to keep the momentum going with exams just around the corner… Bayside Sharks RFC (3-3) are currently holding down fourth place and the final playoff spot. The Sharks are on the road this weekend to Lower Mainland rivals Meraloma Rugby Club (1-4).