Meraloma rugby club had something the Castaway Wanderers wanted on Saturday. And the Castaway Wanderers took it.
CW’s 26-10 defeat of the Lomas put the historic Oak Bay club into the CDI Premier Rugby semifinals and punted the Lomas out of the playoff picture.
CW (7-6-1) will now face Burnaby Lake (10-4) in a semifinal playoff matchup in Burnaby on May 4. James Bay Athletic Association (10-4) will face reigning champs Capilano (10-4) in the other semi.
This year’s Rounsefell Cup provincial final will be played on the Island if James Bay and/or CW can qualify for it.
“That doubles the incentive,” said CW coach Ian Hyde-Lay. “Anytime you don’t have to travel is a massive bonus.”
CW deftly scored four tries for the playoff-clinching bonus point as powerful centre and national team prospect Mike Fuailefau crossed the line twice. Forwards Clayton Thornber and Dylan Jones also scored for CW, which led the game 12-3 at the half.
“Lomas are a great club, lots of pride, you don’t go in too often and get a bonus point win,” Hyde-Lay said.
CW’s Ciaran Hearn, a 2011 Rugby World Cup veteran, converted three of the four tries.
It’s CW’s fourth win in a row. The culmination of a big turn around from facing relegation at the season’s midpoint.
“When we’re at full strength we have a pretty capable team, and we were at full strength,” Hyde-Lay said. “We’ve had such a season of chopping and changing the lineup, with absent national players and injuries, but we’ve had some consistency in the roster the last month.”
There’s little disparity in the remaining four teams, he added.
“Burnaby are still the favourites but otherwise there’s not much difference.”
Meanwhile James Bay lifted the 2012-13 Barnard Cup trophy as Island champions, thumping the much less experienced UVic Vikes 54-25 team at home on MacDonad Park.
The Bays also clinched the annual Vikes-Bays Ian Stewart Challenge Cup.
With the Vikes out of the playoffs, head coach Doug Tate used the opportunity to field a young VIkes roster, with rookies Jeff Nishima-Miller (St. Michaels University School) and Fergus Hall (Glenlyon Norfolk School)
The Bays will host Capilano, May 4 at MacDonald Park, in a rematch of last year’s Rounsefell Cup final won by Capilano.
“It’s a little bit of revenge,” said Bays’ veteran Morgan Williams. “Hopefully we can come away with this win. Having the final here on the Island would be awesome for everyone here.”
Both CW and James Bay will be without national 7s players for the May 4 semifinals. Ciaran Hearn and Nanyak Dala from CW and Tyler Ardron, John Moonlight and Thyssen de Goede of the Bays will be at the Scotland IRB World Series Sevens tourney.
In the Adidas Women’s Premiership the Velox Valkyries defeated the UVic Vikes 42-12 on Saturday. Velox hosts SFU in the Adidas semifinal, this Saturday at 11:30 a.m.