Hurricanes storm to provincial rugby semis

The B.C. high school boys rugby championships invaded Abbotsford's Exhibition Park on Wednesday, and the hometown Rick Hansen Hurricanes ensured they'd get to play for a medal.

Lucas Harder of the Hansen Hurricanes drives in for a try during provincial AA rugby quarter-final action against Clarence Fulton of Vernon on Wednesday at Exhibition Park. Hansen won 22-15.

Lucas Harder of the Hansen Hurricanes drives in for a try during provincial AA rugby quarter-final action against Clarence Fulton of Vernon on Wednesday at Exhibition Park. Hansen won 22-15.

The B.C. high school boys rugby championships invaded Abbotsford’s Exhibition Park on Wednesday, and the hometown Rick Hansen Hurricanes ensured they’d get to play for a medal.

The Hurricanes, seeded fourth in the AA draw, knocked off No. 5 Clarence Fulton of Vernon 22-15 in quarter-final action. Hansen dominated possession, but Fulton took advantage of a couple Hurricane turnovers to keep it close.

“It was a hard-hitting game,” Hansen coach Bo Sidhu analyzed. “Clarence Fulton was a big team, but we did what we needed to do.

“If we would have executed a little better, that score would have been a bigger margin.”

Arsh Gill, Lucas Harder, Daniel McCutcheon and Ryan Hotner scored tries for the Hurricanes, who move on to face top-seeded Collingwood of West Vancouver in the semifinals at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

“They’re a very disciplined team, and very skilled,” Sidhu said of Collingwood. “We have our work cut out for us, but I like our team’s tenacity. We’ll be playing a hard-hitting brand of rugby, and taking it right at them.”

In AAA action, the Yale Lions gave the No. 2-seeded Carson Graham Eagles of North Vancouver a huge scare, ultimately falling 18-15 in a thrilling quarter-final.

The Lions, ranked No. 7, built an eyebrow-raising 15-8 lead at halftime as former Canadian U17 international player Christian Styles ran for two tries and Akash Deo booted a convert and a penalty kick.

But the Eagles got it together after the break, manufacturing a pair of tries to escape with the win.

In his post-game chat with his team, Lions coach Doug Primrose told his players not to hang their heads.

“The guys played very well – the best they’ve played all year,” Primrose said. “I’m proud of them.”

Yale had played Carson Graham in exhibition play on April 7, and sustained a 49-5 drubbing. That they gave them a run for their money on Wednesday was a testament to how far they’ve come.

“We did a much better job defensively,” Primrose said. “Their two best players are centres, and we pretty much shut them down today.”

In consolation-side AAA action, the Robert Bateman Timberwolves trounced Fleetwood Park of Surrey 29-3 on Wednesday.

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