The Nanaimo Hornets may have scored the first and last tries of their B.C. Rugby Union Div. 1 men’s rugby game on Saturday, but the Port Alberni Black Sheep scored the ones that counted, winning 31-24 on home turf.
Nanaimo opened scoring early in the contest, going up 5-0 on an unconverted try. Port Alberni got it back when Anthony Selva scored, and went up 7-5 after Neil Thurley kicked a conversion. Nanaimo swapped the lead again with a second try, going up 12-7.
“We had some really sloppy moments,” Black Sheep head coach Jas Purewal said. “We started playing some pretty good rugby 25 minutes into the first half.”
Ty Shannon, with a Thurley conversion, gave the Black Sheep a 14-12, two-point edge at halftime.
“Our scrums were pretty weak but they got better as the day went on,” Purewal said. “Our lineouts were improved from last week.”
Jack Rokotuiwakaya widened the gap for the Black Sheep with a try, converted by Thurley, after a push inside the Hornets’ five-yard-line.
With the Sheep putting pressure on the Hornets’ two-yard-line, Mike Nelson pushed the goal line with some pick and go rugby and it translated into a try to put the Sheep up 26-12.
Anthony Selva picked up Nanaimo’s kickoff right away and ran it 65 metres for a try to put the Sheep up a commanding 31-12.
With 12 minutes left in the contest “we kind of took our foot off the gas and they got (two) pretty late tries,” Purewal said, including a try and conversion right at the end of the game to give them 24 points.
Despite the lapse, Purewal said the Black Sheep “played some pretty good rugby.”
The Sheep were able to open up against the Hornets with some long runs in addition to Selva’s long run try. “We want to play running rugby,” Purewal said. “When we’re playing well it makes it a lot of fun.”
SCRUM NOTES…The Black Sheep have a bye this weekend…They play a pivotal pair of games against Velox and Cowichan in Cowichan Cup play in March…The Alberni District Secondary School Armada girls’ rugby team has been fundraising for a trip to Ireland during spring break.