The Cowichan Piggies roared back into action with a 20-15 win over James Bay last Saturday as the senior men’s rugby season resumed following the winter break.
"It was a really good game," head coach Gord McGeachy said. "[James Bay] had a pretty good turnout. Their premiership team didn’t have a game, so they sent some players down, and they probably had a more competitive team than we would have seen."
James Bay opened the scoring with a penalty goal 10 minutes in, but Cowichan got it back when Pat Fraser, playing his first match of the season, slotted a penalty of his own.
Midway through the first half, the Piggies took the lead when Ryan Spooner scored a try, which Fraser converted. A late try by James Bay tied the score at 10-10 going into halftime.
The Piggies made one change to their lineup at halftime, but it was their field location that made the big difference.
"We had played against the wind in the first half," McGeachy noted. "Having the wind at our backs in the second half helped."
Ten minutes into the half, Fraser kicked another penalty for a 13-10 lead. Ty Jones’s try around the 20-minute mark, converted by Fraser, put Cowichan up by 10. In the final minutes, James Bay scored another try to cut the Piggies’ lead to five points, but Cowichan held on thanks to a goal-line stand over the last 10 minutes.
"It was a hard-hitting game," McGeachy said. "We were fortunate enough to come out on the winning end of a lot of big hits."
Fraser, who proved to be a steadying presence in the backs, was one of two players making his season debut, along with Germain Lamothe, who recently returned from France.
The Piggies will be at home to the UVic Norsemen this Saturday at 1 p.m. McGeachy expects a wide-open game from UVic in contrast to his team’s physical style.