The Weekend in Review - Game Updates
A long road trip to Fort McMurray, an entertaining game leading to playoffs for the U21, and two very challenging matches for the Women's teams: this is the past week on the pitch for the Clan! Let's take a closer look together at their performances on the field with the reports by our great coaches!
Oh, Fort McMurray!
Home to large scale natural beauty, industrial pollution, and, apparently, a good chunk of North America’s rugby playing Polynesian diaspora. These were just some of the factors the Clan super2s encountered on Saturday as we hit the open road for 9+ hours in search of rugby glory against the resurgent Fort McMurray Knights (#albertastrong).
Field conditions were near perfect on the hot and sunny day which set the table for a high scoring back and forth contest. Some accurate line-out work and an effective driving maul engineered by Nate Groenewold led to fly-half debutant Andy Stead stepping his way around two defenders and diving over for the score. The super2s stepped up the pressure and were rewarded with a kickable penalty by the match official on the day, a portly Scotsman who kept up with the play surprisingly well. Mike Adibe easily chipped in the 3 points. 10-3 Clan. Neither team was conceding much in terms of line breaks or missed tackles, but the Knights regrouped and charged back with two tries to lead 17-10 at the half.
Dan Nguyen, always reliable at fullback, dotted down in the corner to open 2nd half scoring for the Clan. After the hard running Knights team expanded the lead to 31-17, the super2s responded courageously with 2 tries of their own making it a 31-29 Knights lead with 5 minutes to play. As has been the case all season, we could not find a bounce in the final minutes and the win eluded us once again.
Congratulations to the following people on their first super2s caps of 2017: Filip Ristoski, Tim Moore, Jeremy Groenewold, Brennin Starreveld, and, of course, Ft. Mac’s own favourite son San “kato” Potkins.
Final: Knights 38 Clan 29
Man of the Match: Andy Stead
Honorable Mentions: Tim Moore, Mike Adibe, and Nate Groenewold
The Clan U21 men have built upon their last win over St. Albert by backing it up with a hard fought victory over the LT’s at home on Wednesday, 21st June.
The match was defined by a howling north-easterly wind that meant the team playing away from the clubhouse was going to struggle for field position.
With skipper Tom Stubbs winning a critical toss, the Clan boys got to play downwind and choke the LT's in their own half. With the opposition resorting to trench warfare tactics of their backs seeing little ball and a relentless pick’n’go, the Clan pack were in for a unique test.
Sticking to their guns, the Clan played an expansive game and were able to score a couple of slick tries to the backs. Towards the end of the first 40, the LT's finally managed to break out and grind out a try after a long try-line stand by the Clan.
Going into half up 12-5 with the prospect of playing into that wind, the Clan knew the 2nd 40 was going to be a sterner test. The teams traded tries with the LT's making the most of the wind and taking a 20-17 lead with 10 minutes to go. Again, the home lads showed their resolve and, after a period of pressure, a brilliant linking play by Regan Nel off a muffed clearance put KC Idoko through a gap in the midfield and, after dancing around the cover defence, he cantered under the posts for the winning score.
The LT's threatened to steal it at the end but the resilient Clansmen finally managed to scramble the ball into touch for the final whistle. Final score: Clan 24 – 20 LT’s.
In the end, two conversions by Stefan Erasmus in the testing conditions proved the difference with the LT's unable to land any of their four attempts.
Overall, the Clan were rewarded for their willingness to back their skills in the wind and play enterprising rugby. With all the boys putting their hands up on defence during various stages, it’s difficult to single out special performances, but Aiden Vandenberg coming off a dislocated shoulder 4 weeks ago played an outstanding all round game with dominating, mongrel defence and some rollicking big runs up the gut.
With the short regular season wrapped up, the Clan’s 2-1 record affords them 2nd seed in the playoffs, and - more importantly - gives them the psychological edge of a prior victory over their semi-final opponent.
This past weekend saw the Clanswomen AWP team face the league leading Calgary Hornets.
The Hornets had recently seen the return of all of their national and provincial level players, so the Clanswomen knew they’d be in for some tough competition.
The Hornets went up early and were never really at risk of losing their lead as they played stifling defence. This doesn’t mean that the ladies gave up though.
Despite an ever increasing gap in the score, the Clanswomen continued to play hard-hitting rugby, making sure the Hornets had to earn every single point. Final score was 5 - 67 for the Hornets.
After the game, the Hornets' coach commented that his players said that “the Clanswomen were the toughest team they’d faced so far.”
The Clanswomen now enjoy a break, playing next on July 5th.
On Wednesday June 21, the Clanswomen’s 2nd division team took on the Nor’Westers in what proved to be a very exciting match.
From the first quarter, you’d be forgiven for thinking a blowout was coming. The ladies took the field flat footed, and the Nor'Westers took advantage taking a commanding 31-0 lead after 20 minutes. However, this is where the Clanswomen drew their line in the sand.
The next hour was a showcase of Clan Rugby at its finest. The ladies shored up their defence in the middle, and the Nor'Westers barely got the ball out of their own half for the rest of the game. The Clanswomen also started to put things together on attack and gradually began closing the gap in the score.
By the start of the 4th quarter, the score was within 7. The Clanswomen kept their foot to the gas and poured on attack right up until the final whistle, with a 37-31 score.
Notable performances came from Jessika Sareault, dotting down 2 tries on either side of the pitch, and Kayleigh Minaker who stepped up from U18 to win player of the match.