The Rowers host Seattle in the 1st div semi-final–

Wade Moore runs at a Seattle defender March 31. The Rowers cruised to a 36-7
victory in the contest at Seattle’s Magnusson Park. Photo: Malin Jordan

The Rowers’ first div squad faces Seattle this weekend in a semi-final match in Stanley Park. The Mighty-Firsts beat Seattle in both regular season match-ups, 56-10 and 36-7, but Seattle has recently looked stronger than those scorelines dictate. Kick-off is 2:30 at Brockton Oval.

Here’s and in-depth look at the match from the BCRU site:

By Andrew Smith, BC Rugby Communications
VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Rowing Club will battle Seattle at Brockton Oval on Saturday for a berth to the 2012 provincial final of the Tier Two Okanagan Spring Brewery League One competition. The two sides are looking to secure the second seed and advance to the May 5th final against the top-seeded Bayside Sharks of White Rock, BC.

After missing out on qualification to the 2012 Premier League, the Vancouver Rowing Club turned their focus to developing a young squad and regrouped with an impressive season in the Tier Two Okanagan Spring Brewery League competition. The Rowers wrapped up the season  in second place with a 9-1 record, averaging a second-best 30.4 points per game in offence and led the league defensively allowing just 16.7 ppg.

“After missing out on the [Premier] league, our plan was to make this season about development and getting better in every game,” said Rowers head coach Jeremy Sabell. “We have got a lot of young guys coming through our academy system we founded in 2008 and we have a mix of some very good veteran players. About half of our top two teams have come through the system. In my mind we have exceeded expectations a little bit this year.”

The Rowers have seen a number of blue chips rise to the challenge including loose head prop Noah Barker and Gradyn Bowd, two players called up to the Canadian Under-20 national team for their exhibition series against Romania this past March.

Excelling in the back line, Matt James finished second overall in league scoring (65 pts) with three tries, six penalties and 16 conversions to his credit. The Rowers have also benefited from some strong leadership through the play of scrum half Duncan James.

“We like to think of ourselves as a very balanced team and we are able to attack from anywhere on the field,” Sabell added. “We play a very up-tempo style of play and we have done well because at the foundation we are very organized on defence.”

This weekend the Rowers will play host to Seattle RFC (6-4), a team that won three games at home, but struggled on the road during 2012 competition.  The Rowers defeated Seattle in both their meetings coming away with a 36-7 win on March 31st, and a 56-10 decision on March 3rd.

“Seattle are very unpredictable and they have the ability to draw on players from Super League side Old Puget Sound Beach,” Sabell added of this weekend’s opponents. “They have certainly improved throughout the season and we aren’t taking them lightly.”

Key offensive contributors for Seattle include Nate Olsen and centre Casey Cronk.  Saturday’s match is scheduled for 2:30pm at Brockton Oval.

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