Latest rugby round goes to Vanier

Pressure situation forces Cowichan’s Darien Hobday to look for an outlet pass with Vanier’s Danelle Campbell in pursuit. - Don Bodger
Pressure situation forces Cowichan’s Darien Hobday to look for an outlet pass with Vanier’s Danelle Campbell in pursuit.
— image credit: Don Bodger

There’s a very good chance the Island finalists will meet again for the provincial title in AAA girls’ high school rugby.

Vanier and Cowichan played in the Island final for the eighth straight year Saturday at Brentwood College and Vanier won for the second time 21-5. Vanier goes into the provincials at Port Alberni ranked No. 1 and Cowichan No. 3.

The Island final stood at 7-5 before Vanier went ahead 14-5 at the half, but then Cowichan pressed throughout the early stages of the second half and just missed narrowing the margin a couple of times. Vanier eventually clinched the game with a late try.

“We had a great deal of territory and possession but you need to be able to convert pressure into points,’’ noted Cowichan coach Brad Skene. “You have to give Vanier their due. They executed. It was a great performance for them. It was a very good battle and we made too many mistakes on offense and defence to win a game against a very strong, athletic and well-organized team.’’

“Cowichan played their hearts out and made the game closer than the final score indicated,’’ conceded Vanier coach Dwayne Mills.

Cowichan was behind the eight ball, playing without co-captain Adrienne Saari due to illness. Hannah Morten did her best to fill the tough No. 8 position and scored Cowichan’s lone try.

“Cowichan had some great pushes on our try line, but we were able to hold them off and get some fortunate bounces that helped us relieve the pressure they were exerting,’’ noted Mills.

Vanier suffered from knock-ons and poor execution throughout the game, but Cowichan couldn’t take advantage. But Vanier’s top players were at their best in the game and that made the difference.

Lauren Sargent, Madi Gold and Dawson German scored tries, with Grade 10 standoff German adding three converts. Georgina Bellamy and Danelle Campbell were standouts.

“I was very impressed with the character that we showed,’’ Skene related. “The week prior to the game we found out that several players we thought would be back for playoffs would not be back.

“The team we fielded on Saturday was the best we could but not what I had on paper two weeks ago.’’

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