Two Port Alberni Black Sheep rugby players pile onto a Cowichan Piggie player but the tackle was too late as Cowichan scored to take a commanding 17-0 lead midway through the second half of their BC Rugby Union game in Port Alberni on Saturday. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Port Alberni Black Sheep lose more than rugby game to Cowichan Piggies

Piggies’ win knocks Alberni down to No. 8 seed in B.C. playoffs

The Cowichan Piggies earned a couple of important rugby titles on Saturday, and they did so at the expense of the host Port Alberni Black Sheep.

The Piggies scored a late try in the first half to break a scoreless tie, then dominated the second half of their Vancouver Island Rugby Union game to win 39–0. The victory gave them the Cowichan Cup, as well as second place in B.C. going into the provincial playoffs. Cowichan also earned the Times Colonist Cup during the first half of the year.

The Black Sheep were already in deep before Saturday’s game started: they had forfeited their previous game against Cowichan on March 3 due to lack of players, which was an automatic 20–0 default win for the Piggies. That meant the Black Sheep had to win by 24 points on Saturday in order to win the Cowichan Cup and earn the No. 2 seed in B.C.

“That might have hurt us a little bit,” Black Sheep head coach Jas Purewal said. “We played a little loose. Then Cowichan waited to take advantage of us; they just waited for us to make mistakes.”

The teams were scoreless after 39 minutes, and Cowichan scored a late try in the first half to go up 7–0 just before the break.

Lack of communication on the field played a part in the team’s breakdown in the second half, Purewal admitted. “We’ve got a lot of guys playing out of position to make up for the guys that are missing. It’s a domino effect. We’re having difficulty with communication. You’ve got to know who you’re with. We had lots of unorganizational mistakes.”

Cowichan coach Andrew Wright gave the Black Sheep full points for their tight play in the first half.

“We went 39 minutes of 0–0 rugby in a 40-minute half. Port had us in our half (of the field) for a long time and it was back and forth. We squeaked a try in to close the half out,” Wright said. “It was 7–0 but could have been 0–0.

“We’ve been really focused on our fitness this year and it really showed,” Wright added.

“It was a hard, grinding game. Port didn’t give up whatsoever during the whole 80 minutes and we didn’t expect anything less from our North Island brothers.”

Wright said the turning point for the Piggies was getting points on the board in the first half as well as scoring an early try and a penalty kick in the second half. Then the game started to get away from the Black Sheep.

Purewal said the Black Sheep showed courage on their defence, despite the lopsided score. “Their defence on the goal line stands was very good. The problem we had was the loose play—Cowichan scoring really easy tries.”

Losing to Cowichan puts the Black Sheep as No. 8 seed in B.C., meaning they will play either Surrey, Bayside or Vancouver Rowing Club. Those three teams are all within two points of each other with a couple of games in hand. They have faced Surrey and Rowing Club this year, losing both times.

“I guess we chose to take the hard path,” Purewal said.

SCRUM NOTES…Saturday’s contest was the Black Sheep’s final home game of the regular season. They visit the Comox Kickers this Saturday, April 14 (1 p.m. kickoff) before heading to Vancouver for the B.C. Rugby Union quarter-final playoffs on Saturday, April 21.


The Cowichan Piggies take control of the ball out of a ruck late in their road game against Port Alberni Black Sheep, Saturday, April 7. The Piggies won 39–0, which gave them the Cowichan Cup title as well as second place in B.C. going into the playoffs. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Just Posted

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

BCHL: Bulldogs announce the departure of head coach Matt Hughes

Hughes led the Alberni Valley Bulldogs for two seasons

Man charged after knife waved at 7-Eleven store clerk

Port Alberni’s Jared Dallen Stein charged after consecutive robberies

New scholarship at Pacific Coast University boosts disability retraining

BY MIKE YOUDS SPECIAL TO THE NEWS A new scholarship provides a… Continue reading

Applications open for bursary, scholarship funding at North Island College

Current and future North Island College students are eligible to apply

Port Alberni Fire Department engages Indigenous youth in fire awareness

Workshop took place as part of Gathering Our Voices event in Port Alberni

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

Most Read