VANCOUVER - Fraser Valley's senior men's representative side will look to clinch the 2013 McKechnie Cup this Saturday in a clash with 39-time provincial champions Vancouver. The Valley were convincing winners in a surprise 25-7 upset over Vancouver Island two weeks ago and a relatively unchanged lineup will see the defending McKechnie champions in prime position to lift their sixth provincial title.
Short on experienced backs, Fraser Valley fielded a number of bruising loose forwards in their clash with Vancouver Island and contained their young Canada flyers. This Saturday will require a change in tactics as Fraser Valley head coach Kris de Scossa says Vancouver will look to battle more in the trenches and use their pack to push the ball up the field.
"We knew we would be faced with a fast and expansive game against the Island and that they had pulled in some potential Canada players for the match," said de Scossa. "We came out with a game plan to contain that and tried to exploit the advantages we had against their lineup. With the VRU (Vancouver) we are expecting a far grittier game as their squads pull in from forward-oriented clubs like the Ravens, Meralomas and Capilanos."
Fraser Valley have reenforced their back line with Bayside standout Adam Timler, a BC U18 provincial team grad and former Canadian universities rep from the FISU World Games. Richmond's Ryan Shams will also bolster the backs. Langley reps Stu Morrison and Richard Pearce continue to fight for starting spots and have also impressed the coaching staff.
Providing some extra punch through the centres is Abbotsford's Chris Chalmers who spent the summer playing Rugby League with BC's provincial team and enjoying a stint in England playing against professional outfit Wigan. Chalmers scored a try for the Valley in their series opener and made his presence felt on defence.
"Chris regularly plays number eight, but if he wanted to have a future in the centres he has the skill set," added de Scossa. "His understanding of the game has improved over the last few years and he has a great work ethic and continues to put the time in at the gym."
Vancouver suffered a 33-13 opening round defeat to the Island in late January but have since had time to regroup ahead of the final round. The squad has battled injuries and will be short-handed with a number of key players traveling south with UBC's varsity program to take on the Cal Bears this weekend.
"Unfortunately we have lost a good number of players due to injuries, touring and personal problems, but we are fortunate to have strong support from clubs like the (UBCOB) Ravens and Meraloma," said Vancouver's head coach Mario Domingues.
Ravens' standout Benz Henrikson will look to match up against Chalmers in the centres and Vancouver's offence will be led by captain and scrum half Chris Robinson of Capilano RFC.
"Benz is strong and can find good space to penetrate and he had a really good first game," added Domingues. "Another one to watch is Chris Robinson who is a great team player. I also have lots of younger players on the team including full back Justin Law (Ravens) who caught my attention. He is smart, fast and has great vision of the game."
Saturday's match is currently scheduled for 3:00pm at Brockton Oval, located in Vancouver's Stanley Park. Admission is free with programs for sale by donation.
BC Rugby Cups Competitions - Sat. February 16th at Brockton Oval, Vancouver:
11:00am: Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup (Sr Women) - Fraser Valley at Vancouver
1:00pm: Dunbar Keg (U20 Men) - Fraser Valley at Vancouver
3:00pm: McKechnie Cup (Sr Men) - Fraser Valley at Vancouver
RECENT RESULTS (Jan 26, 2013)
Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup - Vancouver Island 17, Vancouver 10
Dunbar Keg - Vancouver Island 27, Vancouver 34
McKechnie Cup - Vancouver Island 33, Vancouver 13
RECENT RESULTS (Feb 2, 2013)
Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup - Fraser Valley 36, Vancouver Island 10
Dunbar Keg - Vancouver Island 47, Fraser Valley 12
McKechnie Cup - Fraser Valley 25, Vancouver Island 7
BC Rugby Cups Competitions
The BC Rugby Cups Competitions are a series of inter union representative rugby matches to be played over three weekends. The series kicked off on January 26th with the Vancouver Island Rugby Union hosting the Vancouver Rugby Union in a triple-header at Westhills Stadium in Victoria. The Vancouver Island Tide senior men and women were both victorious on the day while their Under-20s fell to Vancouver. Round two saw the Fraser Valley men and women come away with wins, while Vancouver Island's U20s bounced back from an opening round defeat. All three cup winners will be determined by this weekend's results.