Port Alberni Black Sheep’s Anthony Selva grabs the ball in a mixup with the Cowichan Piggies on home turf at the Black Sheep rugby pitch, Saturday, Oct. 21. The Sheep won 26–15. LAURIE SMILLIE PHOTO

Black Sheep beat Piggies on home turf

Port Alberni now 3–3 in BC Rugby Union play

The Port Alberni Black Sheep have battled back to playing .500 rugby following a 26–15 win over Cowichan Piggies in BC Rugby Union play on Saturday.

The Black Sheep are now 3–3 overall, and 2–1 in Cowichan Cup matches after starting their season with a couple of lopsided losses.

The Sheep led 7–3 at halftime on a try from Riley Savard (converted by Jordan Kurucz) after an extremely wet first half. “It was a wet day and we were loose with the ball,” head coach Jas Purewal said. “Both teams were a little bit careless.”

Cowichan jumped to a 10–7 lead to start off the second half, but Ryan Turner gave the Sheep the lead again with a try and a Kurucz conversion.

“The last 20 minutes we played some really good rugby,” Purewal said. Cody McClary scored in the corner on a long pass from Anthony Selva and Kurucz picked up his third conversion to put the Sheep ahead 21–10. Cowichan pulled to within six points with an unconverted try after the Black Sheep drew a yellow card, but Sitiveni Rokotuiwakaya scored with another try in the corner to give the Sheep the 26–15 victory.

Purewal said he was happy with the Black Sheep’s defence on Saturday.

“Our defensive tackles as a unit were way better,” he said.

This was the second game in a row that the Black Sheep drew yellow cards, and Purewal said they have to work on the small infringement penalties they have been taking. “We’re a pretty aggressive team because of our size,” he said.

The yellow cards have come more easily due an important rule change regarding hits to the upper body, he added. “I’m a big fan of the changes…anything that can make it safer.”

With the new changes, he explained, any upper body hit close to a player’s head draws an automatic penalty.

“I think it’s way better for the game: we all have to go to work on Monday and you don’t want to take chances with somebody’s head.”

RUCKS AND ROLLS…The Black Sheep are at home in Port Alberni again this weekend as they host Westshore at 1 p.m….The Sheep will be looking to avenge a 70–19 drubbing they took in Westshore last month.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

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