Brantford Harlequins win Canadian Rugby Club Championship quarter final on the road, book ticket to semi finals in Vancouver on October 5
The Brantford Harlequins traveled eastward on Saturday to take part in the inaugural Canadian Rugby Club Championship. The quarter final match saw the Harlequins taking on the Montreal Irish. Brantford was able to pull out a 39-35 win to book their ticket to the semi-finals in Vancouver.
The Harlequins will play the Fredericton Loyalists (New Brunswick) on October 5, 2018 in Vancouver. Details surrounding the semi-final match are to be announced, but the winner will play in the Gold Medal match on October 7, 2018 in Vancouver.
Match Report by Brantford Harlequins Head Coach Dave Neill:
The Quins took a lean but talented side down to Montreal to play the Quebec league champion Montreal Irish RFC in what amounted to the National Quarter Final. With so much on the line in a one off match up, both teams knew a full 80 minutes would be required.
The Quins got off to a great start, rolling through phases enroute to the opening score of the match from skipper Hugh Mcdonell after some enterprising backline play down the far touch line. A 2nd score from a pick off try saw Rory Mcdonell go 80 meters to put the Quins comfortably ahead. However the Irish would respond with some patient possession, working the ball over the line for 7 points and making their own statement in the contest. The Quins scored again, some more nifty play from Fitzsimmons giving the Irish defense trouble - and despite a last minute threat to their goalline at the end of the half, the Quins went into the sheds up 19-7 but the lead was anything but comfortable.
The halftime chat - it's going to take another 40 minutes of hard work - so lets get to it.
The home team took advantage of a full compliment of 23 players, rolling in subs early and often, and played a structured and physical game. The Quins opened the 2nd half scoring again, but the home team proved a pesky opponent, answering back in kind to keep the game within reach. The game got closer when a yellow card to the Quins tighthead saw them down to 14 for a long 10 minutes, during which time the Irish were able to score again to close the gap to a single score. However the potent Quins offense saw a pair of fast Quins tries through a sharp looking backline, and with the clock winding down, the visitors looked like they may be able to close the game out, up 39-21. However with a thin bench and an eager home side, the last 5 minutes saw the ball bounce favorably to the Irish winger on more than one occasion, and 2 quick tries put 14 more up for the home side, and with seconds to play, the Quins found themselves kicking to restart the match up only 4 points, 39-35.
The restart was a great one, high and well pressured, with a fielding error by the Irish 8th man sending the ball back to the Quins who quickly put it into touch to sound the final whistle and seal the win.
It was a really great club effort for the Quins, who dug deep into the trenches to pull out a long road win. Big thanks to everyone who made the effort to travel down, including the Clarke family supporters who helped fill the bench.
ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP
The Canadian Rugby Club Championship was formed by a committee to give senior rugby clubs across Canada a national championship-style tournament. Supported by the Canadian Rugby Foundation, league champions from each region represent their provinces in the championship.
Canadian Rugby Club Championship Regional play began in July with a match between Saskatoon Badgers and Winnipeg Wombats. The winner of that game (Saskatoon) took on Edmonton Nor’Westers in September for the right to represent the Prairies in the final four tournament in Abbotsford in October. Edmonton was victorious by a score of 45-3.
Out East, Newfoundland Dogs and Fredericton Loyalists went head to head to determine the Atlantic champion and a trip to the final four. Fredericton came away from the Atlantic side with a 50-5 victory. Brantford Harlequins and Montreal Irish battled for the Ontario/Quebec spot in the final four, with Brantford winning 39-35.
BC will be represented by the current BC Premier championship team, UBCOB Ravens.
The women’s club championship is planned for 2019 and then the championships will alternate every year (men 2020, women 2021, etc).
For more details including full results and schedules of this newly formed championship, visit http://canadianclubchampionship.com.