The BC Bears got their 2017 Canadian Rugby Championship campaign off to the best possible start with a savage display of attacking rugby to defeat the visiting Prairie Wolf Pack by 43-0 at Thunderbird Stadium on Friday evening. Calling the performance comprehensive did not do justice to the dominance displayed by the Bears in virtually every department, whether the scrum or open play. Such was the chasm between the two, the Pack could only muster a solitary shot at goal, turning down points on one occasion for an unsuccessful chance at a try from a lineout.
It was a bad start for the visitors when Luke Campbell took an offload to cross for a seven-pointer just a couple minutes into the game. A brief stalemate ended with Taitusi Vikilani, who impressed with his power running throughout, barged over from close range. Brock Staller, an early replacement for Anton Ngongo, was next on the board after a searing break from Phil Mack put the winger in the clear just before the halftime whistle.
The second half started just the same. It was Mack, looking a class apart on attack, who inspired once again. A cheeky grubber from the little halfback went behind the Wolf Pack cover defense and Staller was first to the ball for his second score. He completed an impressive hat-trick just a couple minutes later, this time finishing off an overlap into the corner.
Aaron McLelland went more than 50 metres untouched for a disheartening score from first phase ball and second row Connor Weyell finished off the rout, dotting down in the far right corner for his team’s seventh try. Guiseppe du Toit added four conversions to round out the impressive total.
With that BC have played their only home game of the abbreviated season and will now prepare for the three-match tournament in Calgary that beings on August 13. The Wolf Pack meanwhile have some soul-searching to do with further embarrassment certainly not on their list of objectives when they play host.
Tries – L. Campbell (2’), T .Vikilani (17’), B. Staller 3 (36’, 43’, 49’), A. McLelland (56’), C. Weyell (67’)
Cons – G. du Toit 4/7 (3’, 18’, 36’, 57’)
WOLF PACK 0
Pens – R. Povey 0/1
1 Anthony Luca (capt.), 2 Andrew Lackner, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 4 Craig McLaughlin, 5 Connor Weyell, 6 Luke Campbell, 7 Nakai Penny, 8 Taitusi Vikilani, 9 Phil Mack, 10 Harjun Gill, 11 Mike Nieuwenhuysen, 12 Guiseppe du Toit, 13 George Barton, 14 Anton Ngongo, 15 Aaron McLelland
Replacements: 16 Jordan Reid-Harvey, 17 Paul Ahn, 18 Neil Courtney, 19 Cam Polson, 20 Travis Larsen, 21 Gavin Rowell, 22 Doug Fraser, 23 Brock Staller
PRAIRIE WOLF PACK
1 Peter Houlihan, 2 Wayde Hodgen, 3 Ryan Kotlewski, 4 Conor Turner, 5 Lucas Albornoz, 6 Kyle Morrison, 7 Kyle Gilmour (capt.), 8 Clay Panga, 9 Jake Robinson, 10 Robbie Povey, 11 Adam Bontus, 12 Gradyn Bowd, 13 Mozac Samson, 14 Liam O’Hallahan, 15 Carl Pocock
Replacements: 16 Casey Reed, 17 Nick McAuley, 18 Anthony Battistone, 19 Connor Gilbert, 20 Jeremy Kyne, 21 James O’Neill, 22 Jake Bentley, 23 Ian Shoults
Referee: Chris Assmus