SHAWNIGAN – Preparations are well underway for the North Island Tsunami U16 men’s rugby program, which has been gearing up for this year’s Provincial Regional Championships with a ramped up training and match schedule.
Last weekend the Tsunami and South Island Tide battled at Shawnigan Lake School for the inaugural ‘Duke’s Boot’, an annual pre-PRCs test match between the two Island rivals. The Tsunami U16s got their summer season off on the right foot with a convincing 35-20 win over the Tide.
Named after the scrummaging guru Gary Dukelow – in recognition of dedication and service to the sport of rugby on the Island – the boot is awarded to the top Vancouver Island Academy.
After the game, the Duke’s Boot was presented for the first time to the 2012 Vancouver Island Academy champions: the Tsunami Academy. Along with that special boot, two new Man of the Match plaques were given out. The plaques were named after two local boys who have been showing their stuff off on the international stage and have very close ties to the Island academies. Luke Bradley from the Tsunami Academy was given the “Matt Evans’ Man of the Match” plaque while Tyler McDiarmid of the Tide Academy was given the ‘Sean White’s Man of the Match’ plaque.
Also recognized with the ‘Tsunami Academy Distinguished Service Award’ was Colin Chappell of the Comox Valley, who has been instrumental in growing the North Island Academy program in recent years. An excellent way to end a weekend that saw Sean White and Matt Evans earn a win with the Canadian National XVs program over Georgia the day before. Up next: the PRC this weekend (July 6-8) at UBC.
From the initial minutes of the game, the Tsunami looked to showcase the power and mobility of its forward pack. With each forward making multiple breaks in the game, they looked to control the pace and possession for lengthy periods of time. Foster Dewitt of G.P. Vanier got the action started with a quick tap-and-go 5 meters out, plowing through a couple defenders for the try. Tsunami 5-0 Tide.
A little later Luke Bradley, a Port Alberni product and an under-aged tight head prop on this year’s Canada U17 Wellington Tour, split the defence and looked to be going for a try before being tripped from behind. Bradley looked to finish what he started though; after a kick into touch at the 5-metre line, the resulting line-out saw the ball go straight to the prop who went over the try-line nearly unopposed. Tsunami 10-0 Tide.
After scoring a try himself, Bradley looked to set up his fly-half and captain, Wesley Wong. The Shawnigan Lake student couldn’t have had it easier as Bradley pulled in several defenders, clearing a path for Wong who received the off-load and headed for a try under the posts. Tsunami 15-0 Tide.
In the second quarter, the forwards were at it again. This time Jackson Locker of Campbell River, who moved in the No. 8 spot, took advantage of a solid scrum. Locker picked the ball up and used his size and power to make his way over the try line. Tsunami 20-0 Tide.
Down 20 points, the Tide Academy looked to wake up and put the Tsunami on their heels. Putting together multiple phases, the Tide fly-half, who along with his back line had been offensively causing troubles for the Tsunami all game, finally broke free with pace to go over for the try in the right corner. Tsunami 20-5 Tide.
Keeping up the pressure, the Tide responded with another quick try. Right from the kick-off, the Tide were moving into space with determination. Moving the ball wide, the Tide fullback took the ball on the wing and turned on the jets, running straight through the Tsunami side nearly untouched for half the length of the field. Tsunami 20-10 Tide.
For the first time in the game, the Tsunami needed to push back against the oncoming tide. To show some speed of their own on the outside, the Tsunami answered on the next possession. Ben Mckinnon of SLS created space on the wing with a step inside, pulling the winger and outside center in and leaving Port Alberni’s Neil Thurley to dash 50 metres down the sidelines for the try. Tsunami 25-10 Tide.
Following the next kick off, the Tsunami quickly moved the ball up the field. The ball went through the back line’s hands with the potential to score in the corner. However, the Tide recovered and the ball ended up just short of the line. As if not to be out done by his fellow Alberni Valley player who had just scored, Bradley with the support of the forwards at his back, picked the ball from the back of the ruck and forced his way over the line for his second try of the game. Tsunami 30-10 Tide.
Not letting off the gas pedal, the next kick was returned by Bradley from the Tsunami 22-metre line to the opposition 22. An off-load by Bradley to the young (U-14) and speedy Nanaimo Hornets star Lucas De Vries, who finished off the run in fine form with a try in the corner, and the Tsunami are up another five points. Tsunami 35-10 Tide.
The Tide were quick to respond, taking full advantage of a poor line out in the Tsunami 22. Again, the Tide fly-half teamed up with their outside centre Tyler McDiarmid to create some offensive power. McDiarmid, taking the pass from his fly-half, tucked the ball to one side and charged for the line. Taking the defender with him, McDiarmid earned the Tide another 5 points on the board. Tsunami 35-15 Tide.
Finally, the scoring affair ended with the Tide backline creating more magic. This time, the ball was spun wide to the fullback who had joined the backline. Breaking tackles, the fullback off-loaded to a free winger charging down the sides lines for the last try of the match.
– BC Rugby