VANCOUVER - After a slow start hampered by wet conditions, the reigning Rounsefell Cup champions Capilano RFC produced 18 second half points to down Lower Mainland rivals Burnaby Lake Rugby Club 21-9. The win sees the Caps stay top of the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League standings with a 3-1 record as Burnaby drops to 1-1.
Neither side were able to break through for a try in the opening half as their defences produced some bruising tackles and the water-logged pitch resulted in numerous handling errors.
Burnaby - dressed in special edition breast cancer awareness jerseys featuring bright colours and faces of past club players - were first on the board when no. 8 Admir Cejvanovic slotted the opening three points through a penalty.
The scoring was kept to a minimum until the 33rd minute when Burnaby captain Mike Gough was sent to the bin after repeated infringements by his side at the breakdown. Capilano kicker Matt Yanigiya converted and drew the game level 3-3.
The closest either side came to scoring a try was a 50-metre dash by Burnaby centre Joe Dolesau, who nearly slid past the goal line but was chased down by his opposite number Nate Rees.
Cejvanovic would tack on another three points just before the half to put Burnaby up 6-3.
"Weather was certainly the equalizer and it was competitive, just as we knew it would be," said Burnaby head coach Kris de Scossa. "I think today showed that we had only played one game coming in and that this was Capilano's fourth of the season."
After the break both were sides guilty of repeated infringements at the breakdown and the next yellow shown by referee Sherry Trumbull was Capilano centre Nate Rees. Despite playing a man down, Capilano were building momentum and after several drives into Burnaby's 22, were awarded with a penalty. Yanagiya added the three points and saw his side level at 6-6.
The first try came courtesy of Capilano second row and Canada U20 graduate Adam Zaruba who thundered through leaving three tacklers in his wake for the score. Yanagiya provided the extras and had the home side pulling away 13-6.
Cejvanovic would kick another penalty shortly after to go three-for-three on the day to see his side trailing 9-13. But Burnaby's discipline again proved to be their downfall as prop Anthony Luca was shown yellow in a pivotal moment in the game.
Yanagiya added his third penalty during the player advantage, and in the final play of the match, Capilano's forwards mauled their way towards the try line eventually seeing Robbie McCall over to make it 21-9.
"Burnaby are known for their toughness but I think we were the more athletic team today," said try-scorer Zaruba who credited the team's defence in holding their opponents try-less. "Last year when we won [the Rounsefell Cup] it was through strong defence. We still have some work to do there but today we had some hard hits where we worked them down and pulled through for the win."
Next week Capilano are away to Connaught Park to face off against Lower Mainland rivals Meraloma Rugby Club (2-1) to decide who goes top of the Premier League standings. Burnaby will return home and look to bounce back against the UVic Vikes (1-2).
Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League - Sat. October 13th:
Burnaby Lake 9 - 21 Capilano RFC
Meraloma Rugby Club 20 - 13(+1) Castaway Wanderers RFC
James Bay AA 18(+1) - 22 UBCOB Ravens
UVic Vikes 22(+1) - 24(+1) Bayside AA
Ceili's Cup League (Tier 1 First Division) - Sat. October 13th:
Burnaby Lake 5(+1) - 8 Capilano RFC
Meraloma Rugby Club 18 - 33(+1) Castaway Wanderers RFC
James Bay AA 8 - 8 UBCOB Ravens
UVic Vikes 48(+1) - 14 Bayside AA