Heading into their final matchup of the B2GOLD Provincial Regional Championships at UBC on Sunday afternoon, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island Tsunami had beaten each other once during their earlier round robin games. They had proven that they were the two top teams in the U18 Women’s division, and it meant that their third and final matchup would decide the gold medal winner.
The game proved to be yet another close affair that went down to the wire, but in the end Fraser Valley were named champions. They came out on top of a 12-7 decision, giving them the highest points total of all three teams in the division.
Fraser Valley got out to a 12-0 lead after they scored a pair of tries, the first of which came off a nice play out wide and the second coming off of an interception. But a Vancouver Island try plus the conversion brought the deficit to five, leading to a tense last five minutes. However, Fraser Valley stepped up on defence, holding on for the slim victory.
Fraser Valley head coach Buffy Cornell credited her team’s work ethic as the main reason why they succeeded on the weekend. “They hit rucks faster than I’ve seen youth rugby do. They were over the ball before the ball hit the ground, and that’s the reason why they won the game, because of their work ethic.”
Tsunami head coach Steve Cowie lauded his team’s effort over the entire weekend, and was impressed by their ability to step up against a worthy opponent who was handed their first defeat in three years when the Tsunami beat them in their first game.
“I just take my hat off to the effort of our girls,” said Cowie. “They were fantastic as a team. They played so tough — we were smaller, but we didn’t step down on the physical side of things at all.”
Both coaches also praised the overall quality of play provided by all three teams in the tournament, the third team being Vancouver.
“It’s always a contest, but I’ve coached [Fraser] Valley for six years now with other coaches, and this is the first time that I feel like we had stiff competition,” said Cornell. “And to win it now just proves how much the girls wanted it and how hard they work — it’s an awesome feeling.”
Vancouver Wave 0 – 42 Vancouver Island Tsunami
Fraser Valley 12 – 7 Vancouver Island Tsunami
Fraser Valley 46 – 5 Vancouver Wave
Led by stifling defence, the Vancouver squad captured the gold medal in the U18 Men’s division after winning all six of their round robin games at the B2GOLD Provincial Regional Championships this past weekend at UBC’s Wolfson Field. Vancouver Island North won their final game to take home the silver medal, while the TrueBlue U17 Provincial Team won bronze.
Vancouver had already been guaranteed first place heading into their final game, but they finished off their weekend in fittingly strong fashion, defeating Vancouver Island South 32-0. Overall they allowed just eight points over their six round robin contests.
“Whenever you get a bunch of kids together from different schools, the tough part is getting them to gel as a team, so we made our focus on team defence, and that was sort of our hallmark throughout the tournament,” said Vancouver head coach Bill Chamberlain. “If we play good defence, good things will work out.”
The Vancouver Island North Tsunami headed into their final matchup against Fraser Valley East needing a win to finish second, or else they would come in fifth. It appeared that that might be where they would end up, as they struggled in the first half and were down 7-0 after 20 minutes.
But they cut into the lead on a penalty to cut the lead to four, and with about 10 minutes left they completed the comeback when they used brute force to push the ball across the line for a try that gave them a one-point lead. They then stood tall on defence, stifling any Fraser Valley chances to earn them the silver medal.
“At the start of the game we knew it would be a close game, so the whole focus was on ‘do we really want it?’ We have to show that we want it more than they do,” said head coach Jas Purewal. “Every game [the team] tended to grow — they played a little better and they started to execute and do what we wanted to do. They played more like a men’s team than a youth team.”
Despite being a year younger, the TrueBlue U17 Provincial Team made up for their lack of size by utilizing their great skill, finishing just behind the Tsunami team to pick up the bronze medal. Over their six round robin games they picked up a total of 22 points.
Vancouver Wave 12 – 0 Fraser Valley West
Vancouver Wave 32 – 0 Vancouver Island South Tide
Vancouver Island North Tsunami 37 – 0 Fraser Valley Central
Vancouver Island North Tsunami 8 – 7 Fraser Valley East
Thompson Okanagan 3 – 24 TrueBlue U17 Provincial Team
Northwest Wolves 0 – 17 Thompson Okanagan
Northwest Wolves 5 – 43 TrueBlue U17 Provincial Team
Fraser Valley East 24 – 14 Fraser Valley Central
In a division with no clear-cut favourite heading into Sunday’s games, Vancouver North came out on top with the gold medal after taking down TrueBlue U15 Provincial Team 17-0 in the final of the B2GOLD U16 Men’s Provincial Regional Championship at UBC.
Both teams advanced to the gold medal match after hard-fought victories in their semi-final contests; North Vancouver took down Fraser Valley West 17-10, while TrueBlue captured a narrow 10-5 decision. The win by TrueBlue also saw them enter the final having not lost a game all weekend, making them the only team to do so.
However, the team’s youth and lack of size was exposed in the final, as Vancouver North, who was in the final for the third straight year, controlled the play for the majority of the game and completely shut the door on defence. They scored two tries in the first half to take an early lead, and then added one more in the final 20 minutes to put the game out of reach.
“We came out of the gate well on the first day, but didn’t do quite as well on day two… but on this final day, the guys wanted it,” said North Vancouver head coach Dan Weidner. “They came out firing — they stuck to the game plan and they were physical, and they played the game that they knew they can play to win the game.”
Vancouver North was part of a three-way tie in their division after round robin play, but advanced to the semis due to a tiebreak. The TrueBlue U15 Provincial Team went undefeated on their side, showing great skill that made up for their youth. However, in the final they met their match and were taken down.
“The BC U15 Team was a full year younger, and I think that their performance speaks volumes,” said Weidner. “I think they were the favourite all weekend, and in the final game just some physicality kind of caught up to them. But otherwise, having a younger group like that and grooming these athletes for next year is going to be absolutely phenomenal.”
In the consolation game, Fraser Valley West easily took care of Vancouver Island North Tsunami, rolling to a convincing 34-0 victory to claim the bronze medal. They controlled the entirety of the play, playing stifling defence that created numerous offensive opportunities that they capitalized on.
In the fifth place game, Vancouver West took down Fraser Valley East 17-9, while Vancouver East finished seventh after their opponent, Fraser Valley Central, forfeited after not having enough players. Vancouver Island South finished ninth after defeating Cariboo Coast 27-17.
Vancouver Island North Tsunami 5 – 10 TrueBlue U15 Provincial Team
Vancouver North 15 – 10 Fraser Valley West
Fraser Valley East 61 – 0 Vancouver Island South Tide
Vancouver East 7 – Vancouver West 17
Cariboo Coast 0 – 22 Fraser Valley Central
Cariboo Coast 17 – 27 Vancouver Island South Tide
Vancouver East 5 – 0 Fraser Valley Central
Fraser Valley East 7 – 19 Vancouver West
Vancouver Island North Tsunami 0 – 34 Fraser Valley West
Vancouver North 17 – 0 TrueBlue U15 Provincial Team