B.C. Premier Rugby playoffs: Blitz pays off for Castaway Wanderers over UVic Vikes

CASTAWAY WANDERERS  59
UVIC VIKES  29

Commentators in sports can parse details to death when it comes to playoff games.

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But a 42-3 half-time lead about sums it up when analyzing the Castaway Wanderers’ 59-29 victory over the University of Victoria Vikes in their B.C. Premier Rugby quarter-final cross-town derby at Windsor Park Saturday.

“The first half was pretty much one-way,” CW captain Nathan Stewart said.

He will get no argument from the Vikes.

“It was a bit of a blitz, and certainly not the kind of start we wanted against a team like that,” UVic head coach Doug Tate said.

“We didn’t have the ball for the first 20 minutes and it was pretty much over at the half.”

In a sense, it played to form between two programs that have contributed heavily over the years to Canada’s national team roster. Third-seed CW was 13-3 in the regular season and fifth-seed UVic 10-6.

“Speed kills and we had too much of it at the breakdowns [for the Vikes to handle],” said CW head coach Scott Manning. “And we also brought physicality. We starved them of possession.”

People were expecting a track meet between the teams that led the B.C. Premiership in scoring, with the Vikes leading the league with 734 points scored and CW second with 652. What fans didn’t expect was that the track would be tilted downhill one way in the first half.

The Vikes’ plucky second-half performance, however, won plaudits, even from CW.

“They never gave up and played the full 80 minutes,” Stewart said.

There are many connections between the two teams with several UVic alumni now playing for CW, while several players from the CW junior program now play for UVic.

CW advanced to face top-seed Burnaby Lake (14-2) in the B.C. Premier semifinals on the Lower Mainland next Saturday.

“Burnaby got the better of us in the regular season and our boys want another crack at them,” Stewart said.

CW knows it will be a different game in the semis against a Burnaby Lake side that likes to muck it out in the trenches and scored only 505 points in winning the regular-season crown.

“It is going to be a lot more physical game against Burnaby,” Manning predicted.

Burnaby Lake will be well rested after receiving a bye and sitting out the quarter-finals while CW took the usual amount of bruises and scrapes Saturday that one would expect in a playoff rugby game. “We believe we can go 30 players deep if we have to, and that will be a key for us,” Manning said.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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