Connor Tweed scores his second try for the Canucks in the Calgary City Final game against the Rams at Calgary Rugby Union Park on September 21, 2019. © J. Ashley Nixon
As summer prepared to close up in Canada and the 2019 Rugby World Cup opened up in Japan, it was time for the city final (Division 1) in Calgary: Rams versus Canucks. In a fast, entertaining and fiercely contested game, both teams turned on their try machines a total of eleven times. With thirty minutes on the clock, the Rams crashed through just inside the left corner flag, then again minutes later out on the other side of the pitch, while the Canucks front row boss, Gabriel Kajdy was in the sin bin for some dissent amongst the forward fraternity. Both scores were converted giving the Rams the lead 21-14 going into the half-time break.
From the restart, the Canucks gained possession and swiftly moved the ball along the three quarters to Jake Bentley who scored in the left corner below the beer-chugging crowd on the balcony of the Calgary Rugby Union clubhouse. It was too far out for Corey Larribe to connect with his conversion kick but moments later he stroked over a penalty kick for a three-pointer to make it 22-21 in favour of the Canucks.
Another forward infraction by the Rams gave the Frenchman another chance and that too went safely over the bar: 25-21. After twenty minutes in the half, the Canucks won their line out ball 30 metres out on the left side and elected to pass out to the right. Connor Tweed came into the line from the full-back position to score in the right corner. Larribe got that conversion to extend the Canucks lead to 32-21.
Two minutes later, Matt Megaw picked up a kick at the half-way line and carved his way through the Rams defence to score in the left corner. No success with that conversion but the score was up to 37-21 for the Canucks.
The try of the game came after 27 minutes in a splendid move involving great handling and acrobatic skills by Derek Arnold to put Tweed over in the right corner for his second try of the game. Whispers was well-chuffed.
It might have been lights out for the Rams but no, they kept working hard, desperately flinging the ball around in search of some chinks in the Canucks defence. Their efforts were rewarded after 31 minutes with a try and conversion, then another seven-pointer at the 36-minute mark. But the Canucks defence closed up just enough to hold tight.
Final score: Canucks 42-35 Rams.
The Canucks 1st XV bus it north on September 28 with Dad’s Army (Division 3) to compete in Edmonton for two provincial titles. Sadly, they won’t be joined by their Division 2 mates who went down 74-12 against a mobile Hornets squad in their Divisional city final earlier in the afternoon.