VANCOUVER, BC - Burnaby Lake Rugby Club lifted the 2013 Miller Cup after holding off Capilano RFC for a 24-22 win in the Vancouver Rugby Union final on Saturday afternoon. Capilano scored a pair of tries in the final three minutes but their late heroics weren't enough to see them through to victory as a conversion to force extra time went well short of the mark.
Mainland Cup (Elite) - Sat. September 28th:
MILLER CUP FINAL: Burnaby Lake 24 - 22 Capilano RFC
Mainland Cup (First Division) - Sat. September 28th:
TISDALL CUP FINAL: Burnaby Lake 31 - 38 Capilano RFC
Burnaby had racked up 16 straight points in the second half but their sturdy defence went quiet in the dying minutes as Capilano nearly completed the come back.
"It's great that we won, but we have a lot to improve on," said Burnaby Captain Anthony Luca. "If we can win with that performance, imagine what we we can do when everyone is focused for the whole game."
The opening minutes saw both sides trade tries as Burnaby centre James Reekie crashed through for the opening score to put the Miller Cup holders up 5-0. Capilano answered back with two tries of their own through the forwards as hooker Clayton Hunter-James and no.8 Glen McKinnon each barrelled over to score.
Burnaby's fly half Geoff Ryan slotted a penalty to see Burnaby trailing 8-10 at the half.
The second frame saw Burnaby shake off a lack lustre opening 40 minutes as they re-emerged from the dressing room in their flashy Stade Francais-inspired pink jerseys. The visitors rallied off 16 straight points through tries from Reekie and Joe Dolesau and two penalties from Ryan's boot.
Down 24-10 at the 79 minute mark, Capilano's offence sprung to life as the squad began to swing the ball wide from sideline to sideline. A well worked team try saw centre Adam Zaruba thunder towards the try line before off-loading to an awaiting McKinnon who went over for the score just right of the posts. Capilano fly half Matt Simms converted and it was 17-24.
Capilano kept their foot on the gas in injury time and eventually Hamish Johnston crashed over in the far corner to make it 24-22. A difficult conversion from the touch line fell short, however, and Burnaby held on for the win.
"I've been telling our guys all summer that we can beat any team in the second half because we are stronger and fitter," Luca added.
Burnaby will now turn their attention to the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League with an opening fixture against reigning champs James Bay on October 6th. The clash will be a rematch of the 2013 Rounsefell Cup (provincial final) where no.2 seed James Bay downed Burnaby at Wallace Field.
"We're always looking to advance and last year we made it to the Rounsefell," added Luca. "But we want to be smiling at the end of the final this year instead of heading home with our heads down."
The opening round of Premier League games will see Capilano RFC home to the Castaway Wanderers and newcomers Vancouver Rowing Club at home to the UBCOB Ravens. The UVic Vikes will host the lone Island fixture when they square off against Meraloma Rugby Club at Wallace Field.
In the First Division Cup Final it was Capilano who lifted the 2013 Tisdall Cup as the hosts rallied back to defeat Burnaby 38-31 in extra time. Burnaby were two-time defending champs heading into the regional final.
Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League - Sat. October 5th:
James Bay AA at Burnaby Lake (Burnaby Lake Sports Complex) 2:45pm
Castaway Wanderers at Capilano RFC (Klahanie Park) 2:45pm
Meraloma Rugby Club at UVic Vikes (Wallace Field) 2:45pm
UBCOB Ravens at Vancouver Rowing Club (Brockton Oval) 2:45pm