Under the direction of recently appointed head coach Aaron L’Arrive, and paced by a hat trick of tries from wing Ross McLean, the Comox Valley Kickers began the spring rugby season with an impressive 30-12 win over the Saanich Aggies in Victoria on Sunday.
The Kickers dominated nearly all phases of play and played 70 per cent of the match in the Saanich half. In the first half alone the visitors registered five tries with outside centre McLean finding his way over the line three times while #8 Nathan Holley and wing James McKeachie added singles.
Saanich, a new team in the league this season whom the Kickers defeated 68-17 in the fall, managed to perform better in the second half, tightening up their defence to hold the Kickers to just one try from fly-half Doug Wynd. Toward the end of the contest the home team scored two tries and a conversion to make the score more respectable.
“This was a good away win for us,” said new coach L’Arrive. “The Kickers stuck to the task and though they did perrhaps take their foot off the gas in the second half, it was a good start to the new season.”
L’Arrive singled out three-try scorer McLean for special mention. “Ross is new to the team this season and in this game he took his chances well and was rewarded. Lock Shayne Stuchbery put in his usual dynamic performance, taking the ball and making the hard yards. It was also good to see Eli Cummins back playing inside-centre. He was very creative and set up a good many of the tries. For his efforts the Saanich team selected him for Man of the Match honours.”
L’Arrive, who took over the Kicker coaching reins a few weeks ago, has been playing rugby for the Kickers since he was 14. He joined the club as a junior while still at Highland Secondary School. A club stalwart since that time, L’Arrive suffered a knee injury late last season and following surgery chose to hang up his boots and coach.
“I have some fresh ideas that I hope to implement and which I think will make for a more enjoyable game for the players and for the spectators,” said the happy coach after recording his first win.
The Kickers men’s team has a bye over the Super Bowl weekend before they take on Powell River on Feb. 13 in The Pulp City. The Kickers women’s team opens its spring season with a game against Nanaimo at Cumberland’s Village Park on Saturday, Feb. 5 beginning at 10 a.m.