23 August, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ONTARIO BLUES USE YOUTH TO DEFEAT MARQUEE
AMERICAN RUGBY CLUB IN OAKVILLE
(OAKVILLE, ON) – In a match billed as a “cross-border friendly”, the Ontario Blues defeated Life University - one of the top club rugby teams in the United States - 36-20 at Crusaders Rugby Park in Oakville on Friday night.
While resting many of their veteran players for upcoming Canadian Rugby Championship matches and losing five more to Canadian international duty, the Ontario Blues fielded an incredibly young side in Oakville, opting to give a number of their U20 players – Lucas Hammond, Sawyer Herron, Kainoa Lloyd, Djustice Sears-Duru, and Jake Webster – a chance to represent their province on the pitch.
In total, head coach Chris Silverthorn made 11 changes from his starting lineup that won their CRC Opener against the Atlantic Rock six days ago, and he says that the gamble paid off.
“It was a good effort,” said Silverthorn, after the match. “It was sloppy at times, and we have a lot to work on, but on the whole, we improved from last week’s performance.”
The Blues started the match brightly, with scrum half Andrew Ferguson muscling in a try in the early stages of the game. Ferguson converted his own try, giving Ontario a quick 7-0 lead.
However, Ontario’s momentum would soon dissipate. The Running Eagles spent most of the first half hemming the Blues into their own end, and in doing so, scored two penalties off the boot of fullback Joe Cowley.
With Life maintaining the pressure and showing no signs of slowing down, it took some quick thinking by winger Matt Alexander to turn the tide. Capitalizing on an errant pass by the Running Eagles, Alexander stole the ball and ran 50 metres for an uncontested try underneath the posts, sucking out the wind from Life’s sails. The try was converted by Ferguson, ending the half with the score 14-6 in the Blues favour.
Neither team was able to take command of the match in the first ten minutes of the second half until Blues outside centre Jordan Wilson-Ross showed an incredible display of individual effort, breaking free from a number of tackles to score a highlight-reel try, increasing the Blues lead to 19-6.
However, whatever momentum Ontario gained with Wilson-Ross’s try was soon sucked away, as Life answered back with two quick tries of their own, taking their first lead of match, 20-19, midway through the second frame.
Despite gaining the lead, Life’s stamina began to fade, and with it, their hopes of leaving Canada with a victory.
Late in second half, Blues flanker Alistair Clark took advantage of another costly Life error, jumping on a loose ball off of a poor Running Eagles lineout to score a try under the posts. The try was converted by Ferguson, and the Blues would not relinquish the lead.
In the last five minutes of the match, Ontario would go on to add a penalty from the boot of Alexander, followed by a try from Seb Pearson, converted by Alexander, en route to a 36-20 victory.
Blues manager Mark Winokur drew a number of positives from the victory.
“Not only were we able to get all of our young guys their first senior provincial caps, but we also saw them make major contributions to win over a pretty good American side,” said Winokur. “The more High Performance games we can get, the more we can involve our players, and it helps us to build depth.”
The Life Running Eagles are the 2013 U.S. Elite Cup club runners up, and feature many overseas veteran players in their roster – something Winokur says helps to make Friday’s victory all the sweeter.
“We’ve had a chance to play a couple top American sides in the past few months (New York Athletic Club, Life), and we’ve beaten them both with convincing victories,” said Winkour. “Hopefully the United States can get interested in building a regional system like the CRC, and we can grow a North American league together.”
The Blues will now embark on their Western Canadian CRC road trip, taking on longtime rivals BC Bears in Langford on Aug. 30th and the Prairie Wolfpack in Calgary on Sept. 2nd.
Silverthorn says his team is raring to go as they head out west.
“No Ontario boy needs added motivation to play British Columbia,” said Silverthorn. “It’s engrained in us – all Ontario boys look forward to playing British Columbia, and our guys are ready.”
Ontario Blues Score Report
Tries: Andrew Ferguson, Matt Alexander, Jordan Wilson-Ross, Alistair Clark, Seb Pearson
Conversions: Andrew Ferguson (3), Matt Alexander
Penalties: Matt Alexander
Ontario Blues Lineup for Friendly vs. Life Running Eagles – Name (Club)
1- Creag Johnston (Toronto Scottish)
2- Chris Seyler (Ottawa Irish)
3- Djustice Sears-Duru (Oakville Crusaders)
4- Hank McQueen (Balmy Beach)
5- Scott Dunham, Captain, (Balmy Beach)
6- Tim Richardson (Markham Irish)
7- Alistair Clark (Bay Street)
8- Mark MacSween (Balmy Beach)
9- Andrew Ferguson (Oakville Crusaders)
10- Rory Tomlinson (Barrie RFC)
11- Jake Webster (Lindsay RFC)
12- Dan Moor, (Balmy Beach)
13- Jordan Wilson-Ross (Barrie RFC)
14- Matt Alexander (Oshawa Vikings)
15- Lucas Hammond (Toronto Nomads)
16- Judson Rowbotham (Lindsay RFC)
17- Jacob Rumball (Balmy Beach)
18- Haddon Murray (Balmy Beach)
19- Cam Stones (Ajax Wanderers)
20- Seb Pearson (London St. George’s)
21- Jesse Lofthouse (Markham Irish)
22- Kainoa Lloyd (Mississauga Blues)
23- Sawyer Herron (Oakville Crusaders)
Ontario Blues Team Staff
Head Coach - Chris Silverthorn
Manager - Mark Winokur
Assistant Coaches - Paul Connelly, Paul Ambrose
Video Analyst - Rodin Lozada
Athletic Therapist - Chris Kelly
Team Doctor - Dr. Chris Gallimore
Ontario Blues 2013 Match Schedule:
BLUES 38 @ NEW YORK ATHLETIC CLUB 23
Saturday, May 4th, 2013
Kick off: 3:00 p.m.
Travers Island, New York, New York
ATLANTIC ROCK 25 @ BLUES 27
Saturday, August 17th, 2013
Kick off: 4:30 p.m.
Sherwood Forest Park, Burlington, Ontario
LIFE UNIVERSITY RUNNING EAGLES 20 @ BLUES 36
Friday, August 23rd, 2013
Kick off: 6 p.m.
Crusaders Park, Oakville, Ontario
BLUES @ BRITISH COLUMBIA
Friday, August 30th, 2013
Kick off: 4:30 p.m. PDT, 7:30 p.m. EDT
Westhills Stadium, Langford, British Columbia
BLUES @ PRAIRIE WOLFPACK
Monday, September 2nd, 2013
Kick off: 1:00 p.m. MDT, 3:00 p.m. EDT
Calgary Rugby Park, Calgary, Alberta
BRITISH COLUMBIA @ BLUES
Saturday, September 14th, 2013
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m.
Lindsay Rugby Park, Lindsay, Ontario
BLUES @ ATLANTIC ROCK
Saturday, September 21st, 2013
Kick off: 3:30 p.m. NDT, 2:00 p.m. EDT
Swilers Rugby Complex, St. John's, Newfoundland
About Rugby Ontario:
Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to promote, govern, and develop rugby at all levels in a safe, affordable and enjoyable environment within the province of Ontario.
For more information, visit http://www.rugbyontario.com/
About Ontario Blues:
The Ontario Blues program is the high performance representative program for male rugby players in Ontario. It is designed to develop and showcase male athletes for Rugby Canada teams.
The senior team represents Ontario in the annual Canadian Rugby Championship, and is looking for its third straight title, having won the championship’s MacTier Cup in both 2011 and 2012.
For more information, please contact:
Office: 416 426-7049
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