VANCOUVER - Defending Rounsefell Cup champions Capilano RFC (9-4) eliminated the UVic Vikes (5-7-1) from playoff contention on Saturday afternoon, downing the students 46-35 in a Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League thriller at Klahanie Park.
Wins for the no.5 Castaway Wanderers (6-6-1) and the no.4 Meraloma Rugby Club (7-6) dropped the Vikes a full eight points back of a playoff spot heading into the final round of regular season games on April 20th.
Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League - Sat. April 13th:
UVic Vikes 35(+1) - 46(+1) Capilano RFC
Burnaby Lake 16(+1) - 23 Castaway Wanderers
James Bay AA 71(+1) - 12 Bayside Sharks
Meraloma 38(+1) - 18 UBCOB Ravens
A back-and-forth match that featured 12 tries was decided in the final 15 minutes when Capilano's fitness saw them string together three quick tries to down UVic on Saturday.
"It's usually UVic who opens up the scoring in the last 20 minutes so it was great to see that we were that strong in the end of the game," said Capilano head coach Tom Larisch. "Three weeks ago I think we would have lost that game but we are fitter now than earlier in the season."
Today's win saw Capilano bounce back from a 60-20 drubbing at the hands of Burnaby Lake last weekend. The defending champs threatened from all over the field with each of their back three dotting down and were especially lethal scoring tries through their forwards.
The match opened with Capilano's Taylor Dalziel and Robbie McCall each going over for tries and with a Matt Simms convert jumping out to a 12-0 lead. The Vikes - led by a 9-10 tandem of Canada national team reps Phil Mack and Pat Kay - exploded for 20 unanswered points. Beau Parker dashed through for a try and Kay recorded two tries, a convert and a penalty in quick succession.
Capilano answered back with a try from lock-turned-winger Adam Zaruba and a try and two converts from Matt Simms to lead 26-20 at the half.
The second half proved to be another shootout as the lead changed hands two more times. UVic were first to go over when Phil mack chipped over four attackers and centre Remi Antcil dove on the ball for the score. Kay provided the extras and it was 27-26 for the Vikes.
Simms answered back with a penalty for Capilano and then a try down the wing by Brady Carpenter and another Simms convert saw the hosts leading 36-27. Kay would reply with a penalty for UVic to make it 30-36.
In the final quarter, Capilano's Zaruba and McCall would each record their second tries and put the game out of reach 46-30 as the clock wore down. In the final minutes, UVic were on the attack and Kay kicked across field to an open Parker who dotted down to see the match wrap 35-46.
No.3 Capilano will now host the no.7 UBCOB Ravens (3-8-2) in next week's regular season final match. The Ravens lost out to no.4 Meraloma on Saturday, defeated 38-18 at Jericho Park.
"It's great to see the top six teams still battling it out at this point in the season," added Larisch as his team sits just two points back of a home semifinal fixture. "There is a lot of parity in the league this year and overall I think the quality of rugby is moving forward. Looking ahead to next week against the Ravens, we know we have to win if we want to finish the season as high as possible in the standings."
Elsewhere in Premier League play, James Bay (9-4) moved level in the standings with table-leaders Burnaby Lake after defeating South Surrey's Bayside Sharks (2-11) by a score of 71-12. James Bay and Burnaby Lake each have 44 points heading into the final round of games.
Over on Vancouver Island, the Castaway Wanderers (6-6-1) kept their playoff hopes alive by ending Burnaby's eight-game winning streak. The Oak Bay outfit downed Burnaby 23-16 and remain just four points back of Meraloma in the standings. The playoff race will be concluded next Saturday when CW travels to Meraloma to decide who clinches the fourth and final playoff bid.