BURNABY, BC - Reigning Women’s Adidas Premiership champions Burnaby Lake Rugby Club will look to advance to their fourth straight Gordon Harris Memorial Cup on Saturday, when they host United Rugby Club in the semifinals. No.2 seed Burnaby (6-2) have lifted a record six Cups in the Women’s Premiership and will be looking to lift back-to-back trophies for the first time since 2006-07.
The top-seeded Velox Valkyries (8-0) are the only undefeated team in this year’s competition and will also be looking to advance to their fourth straight provincial final against Burnaby. First up, Velox will have to defeat resurgent no.4 Capilano RFC (5-3) in Victoria on Saturday.
SAT. MAY 3, 12:00pm: SEMIFINALS: no.4 Capilano at no.1 Velox Valkyries (Velox RFC)
2013-14 head to head: Feb 22 Velox Win 19-12
Velox Record: 8-0 (39 pts)
Capilano Record: 5-3 (24 pts)
The Valkyries finished as top seed for the third straight year in the Women’s Adidas Premiership. The squad gave up just 50 points during the eight-game regular season and their offence of 44.4 ppg led the league. Capilano played them close in February with just a converted try deciding the final score in a 19-12 decision.
“Capilano gave us our sternest test of the season so we are expecting nothing short of a battle,” said Velox head coach Oli Scott. “They fought for everything at the breakdown and were dangerous from 1-15. So despite a narrow victory when we last met, we are well aware of the challenge ahead.”
Velox have a number of standouts on their roster this year including Canadian international Julianne Zussman. The speedster recorded six tries and 14 conversions this season, and ranked second in overall league scoring.
“We've had a great mix of players in the group this year from current Canadian internationalists to young students playing their first season of Premier rugby, all held together with a few Velox veterans,” Scott added. “Looking forward to the game, it should be a cracker as there's nothing between the two sides. We are obviously happy to go undefeated through the regular season but it's all for nothing if you don't have two more great performances up your sleeve to finish.”
SAT. MAY 3, 11:30am: SEMIFINALS: no.3 United Rugby Club at no.2 Burnaby Lake Rugby Club (Burnaby Lake Sports Complex)
2013-14 head to head: March 29 United Win 33-29
Burnaby Lake Record: 6-2 (31 pts)
United Rugby Club Record: 6-2 (29 pts)
This semifinal will be a rematch of the 2013 final four where Burnaby had to go through United to advance to the Provincial Championship. Last year’s result saw Burnaby edge their Lower Mainland rivals 13-5 at Centennial Oval and Burnaby Lake head coach Walt Brandl knows it will be another close affair this weekend.
“At the risk of offending some teams including our own, I think United has the best inside backs in the league,” Brandl said. “Shannon Craig, Stevi Schnoor and Jen Cousineau run great lines and play so well off each other. They will be a real challenge to contain.”
Burnaby will be relying on their veterans and 2013 Player of the Year Julia Sugawara to lead them to the final.
“There has been a strong combination of the anchor players like Julia, Deb Capps and Iona Schamberger,” Brandl added. “They have combined well with newer players like Carolyn McEwen, Ciara Malone and Emily Young who have made the most impact in our games.”
NOTE: The Gordon Harris Memorial Cup Final is scheduled for Saturday, May 10 at West Vancouver’s Klahanie Park.
BC RUGBY WOMEN'S LEAGUES PLAYOFFS
Women's Adidas Premiership - Sat. May 3rd:
SEMIFINALS: Capilano at Velox Valkyries (Velox RFC) 12:00pm
SEMIFINALS: United Rugby Club at Burnaby Lake Rugby Club (Burnaby Lake Sports Complex) 11:30am
Women's Division 1/2 - Sat. May 3rd:
DIV 1 SEMIFINALS: Kelowna at Kamloops (Rayleigh Rugby Park) 11:30am
DIV 1 SEMIFINALS: Ridge Meadows at Cowichan (Cowichan Rugby Club) 10:30am
DIV 2 SEMIFINALS: Brit Lions at Nanaimo (May Bennett) 10:30am
DIV 2 SEMIFINALS: Meraloma at United-2 (Burnaby Lake Sports Complex) 10:00am