Place the turf a couple of hundred metres or so to the west and the pitch would lie right below the flight path of the Calgary International Airport (YYC). So with tongue completely in cheek, I can say, unreservedly, there was some high flying rugby action at the Calgary Canadian Irish Athletic Club between city rivals, Irish and Canucks.
Two games ran back to back, beginning with the 1st XV selects competing in the seventh round of the Alberta Cup. It was an ebbing and flowing game, containing some end-to-end try action and, rather sadly, a sucker punch inflicted on Canucks caption Jake Bentley that went unnoticed by the match officials.
Ruairi O’Farrell, who used to play with the Landsdowne Club in Dublin, scored a peach of a try for the Canucks, showcasing his agility when he grabbed the ball high out of the air, swung around and in under the posts. After half-time, the Canucks forwards put in a fine pack effort to score after the Irish were penalized for an almighty obstruction down the left wing. Matt Smith intercepted an Irish three-quarters pass to go over just a minute later.
Ryann McNeilly scored next for the Canucks when the ball was fed out quickly to the left from a scrum on the half-way line. He lunged down the touchline, then cut in sharp leaving the Irish defence grounded. Next up, the Canucks were awarded a penalty just 10 metres out and elected to take a scrum. Once again, there was clean, quick ball fed left along the backs and Ruaraidh Smith came into the line from his full-back position to score in the left corner.
As the game reached its final quarter, the Canucks made an ambitious move right from a scrum on their own try line. William Nixon pushed through on the edge of the scrum and got the ball out to Nick Taylor and Nathan Pratt. Pratt fed Ruaraidh Smith who fly-kicked through the Irish defence, picked up and scored in the right corner. Nick Taylor finished off the try-scoring action for the Canucks, running swiftly in from the half-way line.
Final score: Calgary Irish 22-52 Calgary Canucks
The Canucks Division 2 team made it two wins for the club at the Irish Athletic Club. The highlight of the game was a try by Frenchman, Corentin Larribe. The move started with William Nixon passing out long from a scrum on the half-way line. Larribe, in the Number 10 position, took the ball cleanly, launched over towards the left wing, fly-kicked and picked up to dive over the line.
Final score (Div. 2): Calgary Irish 27-40 Calgary Canucks
Please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography for more action from these, and other rugby games.