The Velox Valhallians came into Port Alberni bigger than life, and left knocked down a size after losing 41-15 to the Black Sheep in Div. 1 men’s rugby, Saturday.
Ty Shannon and Anthony Selva scored three tries apiece as the Black Sheep routed Velox, a team that had been undefeated in Cowichan Cup play this fall.
The onslaught began about eight minutes into the match, head coach Jas Purewal said, when Selva had a pick and go and scored on a 30-yard scramble. Right after the kickoff from that try, the Sheep scored again—this time Selva setting up Shannon through the sticks. Neil Thurley converted it and the Sheep were suddenly up 12-0.
Halftime arrived with Port Alberni up 22-5. Selva increased the distance minutes into the second half and Shannon with another converted try a few plays later put the Sheep up 34-5 and the game out of reach for Velox.
The game got a bit chippy midway through the second half and both teams ended up with yellow cards. Velox scored two unconverted tries to bring the score to 34-15, but Selva scored his third try with seven minutes left in the game on a pop pass from Brendan Tourangeau for the final 41-15 score.
“The sign of a good team is one that can score in the last 10 minutes,” Purewal said. He singled out Cody McClary, Steve and Jack Rokotuiwakaya for having strong physical games. “It paid dividends in the second half,” Purewal said.
Team captain Josh Shannon has been filling in for players all over the field and looked comfortable being back at open side flanker.
“Anywhere there was a ball he was near it,” Purewal said.
Purewal was happy with the team’s accuracy with rucks, and the Black Sheep were able to execute plays because they had “quality” ball, he said.
The Black Sheep (3-1) are in the hunt for first place in both Cowichan Cup and Times Cup play. Saturday’s win pulled them to within four points of Cowichan Cup-leading Velox (4-1).
“There’s no doubt we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves,” Purewal said. “We had that great run two years ago where we made the BC Finals. We’ve had a couple of tough years in between.”
The players who were around for the great run are a couple of years older now, have more experience and are showing a passion and commitment to the game that was missing.
Having a deep bench has also made a difference this year. “You need 20 people to be competitive,” Purewal said. “They’re working really hard…you get that sense from the guys that they really want this.”
SCRUM NOTES…The Black Sheep are off to the University of Victoria this Saturday, Nov. 29 to face the UVic Norsemen in Times Cup play (Port Alberni is currently fourth). Coach Purewal is hoping the team will face former Black Sheep Luke Bradley, who has represented Canada on the rugby field and who plays for UVic….The Sheep don’t play back at home until Jan. 24, 2015.