CRANBROOK - The Rocky Mountain Rogues RFC - a club based in the Cranbrook-Kimberley region - defeated the Nelson Grizzlies in the Kootenay Rugby Union Championship this past Saturday, July 14th by a score of 52-5. The win sees the Rogues earn the right to represent the Kootenay region at the 2012 Saratoga Cup scheduled for this Fall.
The match was 15 minutes in when the Rogues scored the first try. Many more were to follow as the Rocky Mountain Rogues RFC took a half time lead of 31 -0. The Rogues back row of Cam Spiers at eighth man with Byron Garrels at open side flanker and Matt Labine at blind side flanker dominated both offensively and defensively.
This lead to many multiple phase attacks and turnovers at the tackle when Nelson attacked in first phase. The Rogues backline were beneficiaries of the dominating back row play and had space and time to attack through out the first half. The final try of the first half had eight recycles and approximately 70 meters covered in the attack leading up to the score.
Nelson regrouped at half time and dominated territory for the first 20 minutes of the second half finally resulting in their well deserved lone try. The Grizzlies were able to pressure the Rogues scrum throughout the second half as they took great advantage of their weight and experience. Nelson continued to attack through the final 20 minutes, but excellent team fitness and defence allowed the Rogues to make use of quick turnover ball, which resulted in the Rogues scoring three tries in the last 15 minutes, to make the final score RMRRFC 52 - Nelson Grizzlies RFC 5.
The match was an extremely clean game with few penalties and with no cards issued. Greg Haydu from Nelson lead the refereeing crew, with Gord Weiss of Nelson and Brian Bissett from Elkford acting as assistant referees and touch judges.
Man of the match for the Nelson Grizzlies was Derek Stefiuk with many probing runs from fullback and the lone Nelson try. Jared MacDonald, the Rogues Captain was presented with man of the match from the Nelson side. Jared scored two tries, made some pivotal tackles and added all the Rogues converts on the afternoon.
Rugby was the winner on the day as both sides had numerous players between 18 and 23, who have come out of their respective high school programs to compete in Senior Men's rugby at the Kootenay Rugby Union club level. The KRU first place team from the regular season wins the right to host the championship and in the 4 years of the union's existence, the home side has won all 4 titles. The defending champions, the Trail Colonials, lost to Nelson in the final match of the season to see who would travel to Cranbrook.
Kootenay Rugby Union President Gord Weiss presented Rogues Captain Jared MacDonald the KRU Cup for the third time in 4 years, and this will see the Rogues travel to the Okanagan to compete in the Saratoga Cup for the third time.