CALGARY - British Columbia's U19 national title defence got off to an exciting start on Wednesday afternoon as a late penalty saw them edge the Ontario Junior Blues 22-20. Down 20-19 with less than two minutes to play, BC fly half Quinton Willms (White Rock) converted a crucial three points to record the victory on day one of the U19 Canadian Rugby Championship.
BC jumped out to a 12-3 half time lead through tries from Nathan Yanagiya (North Vancouver) and Crosby Stewart (Victoria) and Willms (pictured below) provided a convert.
"We made some errors in the first 10 or 15 minutes of the match which allowed BC to put us under pressure," said Ontario head coach Shaun Allen in a Rugby Ontario press release. "We started correcting ourselves over the course of the game, showing composure as we started to implement more of the things we've been working on in training."
The second half saw a lop-sided penalty count as BC's discipline cost them two yellow cards. The reigning champions would go up 19-10 through a converted score by Willms, before Ontario found their footing and marched back to take a 20-19 lead with seven minutes to go. Ontario's tries came courtesy of lock Matt Mullins (Belleville, ON), wing Jonah Simpson (Toronto, ON) and full back Kainoa Lloyd (Mississauga, ON). Lloyd tacked on a conversion and a penalty to round out the scoring.
BC stayed calm under pressure, however, and after several phases of keeping possession in tight, saw their opponents penalized for a crucial scoring opportunity. Willms stepped up and cooly slotted the three points to record the 22-20 win.
"We've been working on how we finish games and maintaining our composure," said BC head coach Kris de Scossa. "The lads really took on what we've done in training and were patient on the pitch and held on to possession. They took control back and were successful in eventually forcing Ontario to concede a penalty."
Ontario were a larger side and looked polished according to De Scossa who is looking forward to possibly facing their rivals again in the placement finals on Sunday.
"Ontario have had three warm up games and we looked rusty," added De Scossa. "But as the game went on you could see that we're gelling as a team and the players were really maturing as a side. We started getting our timing right and the players were getting used to one another. I'm proud of the performance they had and I know they are pumped heading into tomorrow's fixture against the Voyageurs."
A short turn around will see BC scrum down against the Ontario-East/Quebec reps Voyaguers at 11:00am on Thursday at Calgary Rugby Park. Prior to the BC-Ontario tilt on Wednesday, the Voyageurs fell 23-0 to hosts Prairie Wolf Pack.
1- Liam Beaulieu, 2-Nolan Laderoute, 3-Neil Courtney, 4-Reid Tucker, 5-Connor Hamilton, 6-Jeff Nishima-Miller, 7-Cole Mosychuk, 8-Haydn Evans, 9-Jorden Sandover-Best, 10-Quinton Willms, 11-Crosby Stewart, 12-Nathan Yanagiya, 13-Joe Erlic, 14-Gavin McLean, 15-James Pitblado
16-MacBryan Bos, 17-Jacob Collins, 18-Conner Weyell, 19-Robert Fenton, 20-Nathan Hight, 21-Austin Karius, 22-Sebastain Gibson
1-Djustice Sears-Duru, 2-Sawyer Herron, 3-Kevin Rush, 4-Max Van Dijk, 5-Matt Mullins, 6-Jeremy Wright, 7-Jack Smith, 8-Jason Valencia, 9-Josh Boyles, 10-Glen Thompson-Bullock, 11-Jonah Simpson, 12-Jon Lorimer, 13-Chris Woodhead, 14-Graham Dobbs, 15-Kainoa Lloyd
16-Thomas Purdy, 17-Paul Ciulini, 18-Matt Geisler, 19-Carl WIlliams, 20-Benoit Jones-Osborne, 21-Jayden Norcross, 22-John Sheridan
July 17-21. U19 Canadian Rugby Championship (Calgary Rugby Park, Alberta)
Wed. July 17th - British Columbia 22 - 20 Ontario Blues
Thurs. July 18th, 11:00am - British Columbia vs Voyageurs
Sat. July 20th, 2:00pm British Columbia vs Prairie Wolf Pack
Playoff Rounds - Sun. July 21st , 11:00am - 3rd/4th Consolation, 1:00pm - National Final
For more information on the U19 CRC, visit www.canadianrugbychampionship.com
BC U19 Men's CRC Roster
1. Neil Courtney* - Loose Head Prop (Capilano RFC / UBC Thunderbirds)
2. Liam Beaulieu - Loose Head Prop (Bayside Athletic Association)
3. Jacob Collins - Hooker (United Rugby Club)
4. Nolan Laderoute - Hoooker (Vancouver Rowing Club)
5. Macbryan Bos - Tighthead Prop (UVic Vikes)
6. Dylan Kiselbach - Tighthead Prop (Bayside Athletic Association/ UBC Thunderbirds)
7. Reid Tucker - Lock (Capilano RFC)
8. Connor Hamilton* - Lock (UBC Thunderbirds)
9. Connor Weyell - Lock (Capilano RFC)
10. Nathaniel Hight - Flanker (Surrey Beavers AA)
11. Jeff Nishima-Miller - Flanker (Castaway Wanderers / UVic Vikes)
12. Cole Mosychuk - Flanker (UBC Okanagan / Kelowna Crows)
13. Robert Fenton - Flanker (Vancouver Rowing Club)
14. Haydn Evans - No. 8 (UVic Vikes)
15. James Pitblado* - Scrum Half (Vancouver Rowing Club / UVic Vikes)
16. Jorden Sandover-Best* - Scrum Half (UBC Thunderbirds)
17. Quinton Willms - Fly Half (Bayside Athletic Association)
18. Crosby Stewart - Wing (James Bay Athletic Association)
19. Austin Karius - WIng (Capilano RFC)
20. Gavin McLean - Centre (Comox Kickers RFC)
21. Joe Erlic - Centre (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
22. Sebastian Gibson - Centre (Abbotsford RFC)
23. Nathan Yanagiya* - Centre (Capilano RFC / UVic Vikes)
24. Titus Le - Back Three (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
BC U19 Team Staff
Head Coach - Kris de Scossa
Assistant Coach - Dave Murphy
Manager - Clive Fairs
Therapist / Trainer - Alvin Tseng