The Nelson Grizzlies Rugby Club endured blazing hot temperatures but still managed to handily defeat the Elk Valley Bulls Rugby Football Club 26-7 on the weekend.
In just their second match of the season, the Grizzlies dominated the affair coming off of a loss last weekend in Cranbrook.
“I definitely thought when you compare it to our first game we definitely concentrated on stiffening up our defense. It was pretty lax in our first game, so I thought on Saturday our defense was tightened up,” said head coach Scott Cormie.
The game opened at a steady pace and the ball movement from both teams was excellent going into the latter part of the first half.
Close to the end of the half, Nelson’s scrum half made a nice pass from a ruck finding his charging teammate who found a gap in the Bulls’ defensive line running through for a try.
Although the Bulls attempted to respond with a try of their own their possession was lost when the Grizzlies made a defensive stand.
Player substitutions by the Grizzlies kept the team fresh putting pressure on their opponents.
“I would say, especially for the front row on a hot day like that, it’s really important to make subs. I told them give me all you got, don’t be walking. Give it your all and when you’re done, you’re done,” said Cormie.
The second half began at a rapid pace as the Bulls pinned Nelson into their own zone for a number of ball movements.
Responding well, the Grizzlies moved the ball down the field with solid ball movement scoring their second try of the match.
The only try of the game for the Bulls came minutes later on a missed call from the referee that allowed the Bulls to sneak the ball in for a try.
Before the end of the game the Grizzlies added a pair of trys off of an excellent lineout push by the forwards who punched the ball in and another excellent run by the forwards scoring the final try of the match.
With their first win of the season the Grizzlies are now 1-1 and will head into the rest of their season feeling prepared after dominating last seasons provincial champions.
“Well, I think the one thing we can take from it is that last year Fernie was provincial champs so it was good to finally get a win against them. It sort of, I think puts Cranbrook in the driver’s seat. It really says that Cranbrook is the bench mark and we have a bit more work to do to catch up,” said Cormie.
Playing in the back line as a centre, Cam Stewart was named the player of the game for his solid play.
“Cam was the most outstanding player for sure — defensively he was rock solid. He carried the ball a ton, supported a ton and made good decisions,” said Cormie.
Going forward the Grizzlies will be focused on training hard as their next two games are on the road.
“In practice we will just stick to the things we were doing, defense and we really need to work on our line out. We have already put a fair amount of work into that, but obviously it needs a little more work,” commented Cormie.
The next game for the Nelson Grizzlies Rugby Club will be in two weekends on the road against the Elk Valley Bulls Rugby Football Club in Fernie.