OAKVILLE - The U14 Boy's National Interprovincial Festival wrapped up on Friday afternoon with British Columbia's 'Growl' defeating Ontario 15-0 in the 15-a-side tournament final. BC's three tries were recorded by Elias Ergas (Vancouver), Lucas De Vries (Nanaimo) and Jared Thind (Surrey).
BC had two teams on this year's tour against Ontario opposition, known as the BC Gold 'Growl' and the BC White 'Roar'. The Growl went undefeated during the week's tune up matches with a pair of wins over U15 club sides Oakville Crusaders and Oshawa. The Growl narrowly defeated the Toronto Rugby Union Reps on Tuesday and carried their form into the Festival. In Friday's tournament final, the BC Growl blanked Ontario 'Red' by a score of 15-0.
Teams who did not qualify for the final competed in a seven-a-side competition on Friday. The BC 'Roar' were divided into two teams and after an impressive run in the pool matches, eventually went head-to-head in the tournament final.
Interprovincial Festival Results:
Final: Fri. Aug 3 BC Growl 15-0 Ontario Red
Thurs. Aug 2: Ontario Red 36-5 BC Roar
Thurs. Aug 2: BC Gold 'Growl' 53-0 Ontario Blue
Thurs. Aug 2: BC Roar 37-5 Ontario Blue
Results vs Ontario Regional and Club Teams:
Tues. July 31: BC Growl 19-7 Toronto Rugby Union Reps
Tues. July 31: BC Roar 17-0 Ontario
Mon. July 30: BC Growl 22-0 Oshawa (U15s)
Mon. July 30: BC Roar 56-0 Oshawa
Sun. July 29: BC Growl 45-0 Oakville Crusaders (U15s)
Sun. July 29: BC Roar 37-0 Oakville Crusaders
Report from Kevin Hall:
Well, today was the day, "Championship Day"!
The Coaches divvied up our kids into White and Gold for the last time. BC White to play in a 7s tournament and BC Gold, for the final 15s match-up.
BC was undoubtedly the more knowledgeable and fit group on the field in all pool play. It certainly helped that a number of our kids had taken part in the BC Summer Games and/or training in prep for them. With 7s fresh in their minds, the boys played a wide open offensive game plan and succeeded brilliantly. In short order BC was using the ball to take care of most of the work, while a few Ontario "studs" would run far too long with ball, resulting in tired and vulnerable Ontario teams. For those not familiar with 7s, it can be quite an offensive game and our final scores were indicative of BC's strategy.
Pool Play Results:
Game 1: BC 40 - Ont. 0
Game 2: BC 29 - Ont. 5
Game 3: BC 19 - Ont. 5
Game 4: BC 35 - Ont. 5
With BC going undefeated in pool play, the final, BC vs. BC, allowed for a more "celebratory" game than anything else. The boys took to the field to enjoy a last opportunity to play some rugby at the amazing Appleby grounds. A first (at least on this tour) was hearing laughter from the pitch during game time, a direct result of unique "gamesmanship" from the first whistle on. This game also allowed for one player, unfortunately injured and unable to play contact during the tour, an opportunity to don the BC Jersey and enter on a "touch only basis" (way to go Mike).
BC Blue 26 - BC White 12
BC vs. Ontario 15s Final
So, after a long and exhausting few weeks (parents included), the game everyone has been waiting for was ready to go.
From the starting whistle (actually, even in observing their warm-up) it was clear Ontario had something to prove. After being a bit "man-handled" during the lead up games, the Ont. 1 squad came at BC hard and fast. This pressure in addition to perhaps, some early nerves on BC's part, left our group to defend for large portions of the first half. Now, as I say some nerves may have been present (on offensive possessions a number of unforced errors), the boys were stellar in their defense. The first half was spent almost entirely in BC territory and our group was forced to make numerous defensive plays. There may have been a little bend in the Gold line, but it never broke. From this fan's point of view, this was the beginning of change in the game. With staunch defense providing a solid platform, it was observed the Ont. team was becoming frustrated in their lack of finish. Time and time again Ont. would gain valuable territory only to be held back or turning over the ball, in what was stellar counter pressure, particularly by the Forwards. There were a number of line-out steals and counter-ruck opportunities that allowed our guys a chance to relieve pressure; albeit momentarily.
As the whistle blew the first half dead, BC held Ont. to no scores and entered the half tied 0 - 0.
A common theme and comment from my observations this week has been BC's superior fitness. This can be the difference in a win or loss, especially at the rep. level. This was no different during this tour. While our squad undoubtedly burned up some valuable energy in defending. Ont. in kind also expended themselves in their offensive strikes against BC. That, coupled with the frustration of not capitalizing in the first half, now provided BC with their opportunities in the game. In all three second half BC scores, the opportunity was set up by good Forward play. The Pack took the ball hard and straight into contact, resulting in positive gains in territory and Ontario having no option but to collapse their defense in order to contain BC's advance. With good ball from the breakdowns, the Backs stepped up and with crisp passing, good hands and a few sidesteps, creating overlaps to the outside. As is quite often the case, first scores can be a huge advantage. From that first tally on, BC seemed to create more energy and stamina and Ont. just couldn't match it for the remainder of the game.
As the final whistle blew, BC Gold stormed the field, followed in kind by the rest of the BC kids to celebrate their U14 Interprovincial
Final Score: BC 15 - Ont. 0
A special thank you to the coaching/managing staff in keeping 40+ kids together and focused "on the prize" and to travelling parents for making the trip so much fun. Finally, thanks again to all the Mainland billet families for their incredible hospitality, their generous care of our boys and most importantly, a ride to the ferry!
Singing off, a jet-lagged, but happy U14 BC Fan.
Well done boys...