The BC Rugby Men’s Premier League presented by ONNI kicks off its regular season this weekend following six weeks of intense regional competition.
In what will be the first full BC Rugby Men’s Premier League presented by ONNI season since 2019/20, 12 teams will battle it out over 11 rounds for the honour of lifting the prestigious Rounsefell Cup at the BC Rugby Senior Club Finals next year. The following Clubs will contest the 2022/23 BC Rugby Men’s Premier League presented by ONNI:
- Burnaby Lake RFC (Burnaby)
- Capilano RFC (West Vancouver)
- Castaway Wanderers RFC (Oak Bay)
- James Bay AA (Victoria)
- Meraloma Rugby Club (Vancouver)
- Pacific Pride (Langford – cannot qualify for Playoffs)
- Seattle Rugby Club (Seattle, USA)
- University of British Columbia (Vancouver – defending champions)
- UBCOB Ravens (Vancouver)
- University of Victoria (Victoria)
- Vancouver Rowing Club (Vancouver)
- Westshore RFC (Langford)
Earlier this year, the Men’s Premier League presented by ONNI returned as Clubs played out a shortened Spring campaign, with UBC Thunderbirds crowned champions at the 2022 Senior Club Finals in May.
Coupled with the return of Men’s Regional Cup competitions the McKechnie Cup and Dunbar Keg, this will no doubt be a season to remember as Rugby continues to recover from the effects of the global pandemic.
Who will be crowned champions in 2022/23? Let’s look at the Week 1 fixtures:
Burnaby Lake vs. Pacific Pride (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club, Burnaby)
Burnaby Lake RFC claimed two victories and three losses from its five regional fixtures, although two defeats proved very tight contests. Following an opening 29-13 defeat against the returning Seattle RFC, Burnaby defeated Vancouver Rowing Club 31-19 before falling to UBCOB Ravens 44-38. Next came a close 37-33 defeat to Capilano RFC, before Burnaby finished on a high with a 23-22 victory against Meraloma RFC at Connaught Park.
The Pacific Pride, Rugby Canada’s Development Academy side, finished 4-2 in its regional side against other Lower Mainland university programs. The Pride kicked off with a 56-28 win over defending Premier League champions UBC Thunderbirds, before falling 37-26 to a much-improved Trinity Western University team. A 31-26 victory over UVIC Vikes restored Pride confidence, then followed by a 55-8 revenge win against the Spartans. Pride completed its double over UVIC with a 17-15 win in Regional Week 5 but lost out 27-22 to UBC in its final match ahead of the regular season.
UBCOB Ravens vs. UBC Thunderbirds (Jericho Beach Park, Vancouver)
UBCOB Ravens heads into the opening week of the regular season with three victories and one defeat from its four pre-season regional fixtures. Fancied by some to challenge for the title this season, the Ravens began with a 47-15 triumph over Seattle RFC before edging Burnaby Lake RFC 44-38. Ravens followed with a 35-17 win over Meraloma RFC, before wrapping pre-season with narrow 39-43 defeat to Vancouver Rowing Club.
Defending BC Rugby Men’s Premier League presented by ONNI champions UBC Thunderbirds finished its pre-season campaign strongly after losing its opening two games. Thunderbirds started with a 56-28 defeat to Pacific Pride and 14-30 home defeat to UVIC Vikes but got back to winning ways with a 40-17 win over Trinity West University. The Thunderbirds made it back-to-back triumphs with a 40-26 win against the Vikes in Victoria, before moving to four straight victories after toppling the Spartans (55-38) and Pacific Pride (27-22) in the final two weeks of its regional campaign.
Capilano RFC vs. University of Victoria Vikes (Klahanie Park, West Vancouver)
Capilano RFC’s Men’s Premier League side returns to Klahanie Park with two victories and one draw from its three regional rounds. The Caps saw off Meraloma RFC 32-22 before sharing the spoils with Vancouver Rowing Club in a 20-20 draw. Caps wrapped up its unbeaten pre-season with a 37-33 win over Burnaby Lake RFC.
University of Victoria Vikes went 3-3 in its pre-season fixtures against other university programs and the Pacific Pride. The Vikes started hot with two wins against Trinity Western (42-39) and UBC Thunderbirds (30-14), before falling to the Pride (26-31) and UBC (26-40) in successive home losses. Vikes suffered a tight 17-15 loss away to Pride, before rounding off with a 35-26 road victory at Trinity Western.
Seattle RFC vs Westshore RFC (Starfire Field, Tukwila, Washington)
Seattle RFC, competing in its first BC Rugby Men’s Premier League presented by ONNI season since the pandemic, enjoyed mixed fortunes during its regional fixtures with two wins and two defeats in four matches. Seattle kicked off with a 29-13 win over Burnaby Lake RFC, before suffering a 47-15 loss at UBCOB Ravens. Seattle’s final two matches ended with a close 36-33 win at Meraloma RFC and 38-24 loss to Vancouver Rowing Club.
Westshore RFC finished its regional fixtures on Vancouver Island with one victory, one draw and two defeats. After suffering an agonising 25-24 defeat to James Bay AA in a classic opening-week match, Westshore played out a fantastic 27-27 draw against Castaway Wanderers at Windsor Park. A second defeat to James Bay AA followed, before Westshore completed its regional campaign with a 18-13 win against Castaway Wanderers at Juan De Fuca.
Vancouver Rowing Club vs James Bay AA (Brockton Oval, Vancouver)
Vancouver Rowing Club heads into its first regular season fixture following a pre-season record of two wins, two defeats and one draw from five matches. Rowers started with two losses to Meraloma RFC (33-23) and Burnaby Lake (31-19) before earning a tight draw against Capilano RFC (20-20) at Brockton Oval. However, the Rowers finished strongly with successive wins against Seattle (38-24) and UBCOB Ravens (43-39) and will no doubt give their opponents a tough test this weekend.
James Bay AA enjoyed a strong pre-season with four victories from four matches against its Vancouver Island rivals. After edging Castaway Wanderers 20-19 in its opening fixture, James Bay AA secured a another one-point margin victory against Westshore RFC (25-24). A big 79-9 win over Castaway was followed by a 41-24 triumph against Westshore to ensure an unbeaten end to its regional campaign.
Meraloma RFC vs Castaway Wanderers (Connaught Park, Vancouver)
Meraloma RFC produced one win and four defeats from five pre-season regional fixtures. Lomas started with a 33-23 win over the Vancouver Rowing Club, before suffering a 32-22 defeat at Capilano in Week 2. Lomas endured three further home defeats, losing out 33-36 to Seattle, 17-35 to UBCOB Ravens and finally 22-23 to Burnaby Lake RFC.
Castaway Wanderers RFC, the 2022 Men’s Premier League presented by ONNI runners-up, finished its regional play with one draw and three defeats from four matches. Castaway fell 19-20 to rivals James Bay AA in its opening match before grinding out a 27-27 draw against Westshore RFC at Windsor Park. A heavy 7-79 home loss to James Bay AA followed before Castaway dropped 18-13 in its final regional fixture against Westshore RFC.