Photo Credit: Boris Terzic
A dominant West has won Canada Rugby League’s East versus West select side game 44-12.
The West outscored the East by eight tries to two in their matchup Sunday in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
Rain fell for pretty much the entirety of the game, making for slippery conditions and poor ball handling by both teams.
Loose passing and a string of dropped balls by the East led to the opening try of the match by the West within the first five minutes.
Right centre Kyle Tremblay finished off a movement down the right flank by outrunning the cover defence to score under the posts. Halfback Jacob Bourne converted for an early 6-0 lead.
The West added two more quickfire tries by winger Colton Carpenter and Tremblay, the second of which was converted by Bourne, to extend the margin to 16-0.
The West was able to complete its sets more so than the East and was more aggressive on both sides of the ball, which led to their fourth try by left centre Andy Fourie. Bourne was good with the extras to make it a 22-0 scoreline.
Then just before the halftime whistle blew, the East finally got on the board when forward Iliesa Dranuimasi came off the interchange bench and bulled his way through some West defenders to score. Halfback Jarrad Newey kicked the conversion for a halftime score of 22-6.
In the second forty, the East continued to be its own worst enemy with more knock-ons, missed tackles and not much in the way of go-forward. The West took advantage of that and scored three more tries to push the lead out to 38-6.
Forward Luke Toroca came off the bench to get the West’s fifth try, before hooker Ray Bissonette and fullback Lewis Stockton added further scores. Bourne converted two of them.
Inside the final quarter of the game, the East got its second try when right centre Nat Watts muscled his way over the line. That score was converted by five-eighth and captain Rick Schouten for a 38-12 scoreline. But the West had the final say when replacement centre Connor Byron crossed for his team’s eighth try, converted by Bourne, to close out the scoring.
“The win was really great, but I think the real takeaway was being able to see that standard of league being played in Canada,” said West captain Blake Mahovic.
“From my standpoint, it’s the highest standard of league played here since the (Toronto) Wolfpack disbanded and I think it was just a good opportunity to see all the boys out there taking league seriously.”
From the East’s perspective, their side took away some positives.
“We had a lot of young guys playing and they played extremely well,” said East player/coach Stephen Lenahan.
“We were a little bit last minute put together, but we gave the West a really good game. I think a lot of guys probably played well enough to put their hand up for selection or trials.”
The first East versus West game was played in 2020 and was won by the East. Last year’s match was shelved because of the pandemic.
In the earlier curtain-raiser, the West women beat the East 36-22.