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De La Salle Defeated Touring BC Team

irish rugby tours

De La Salle Defeated Touring BC Team

DLS center Chris Biller breaks through vs Shawnigan Lake.

Shawnigan Lake visited De La Salle Monday night, with the Northern Californians taking a 20-3 decision over the storied team from British Columbia. 

"We were very excited to host Shawnigan Lake," said DLS Head Coach Derek Holmberg. "Despite having a test this Saturday vs. Granite Bay, we knew the experience against a touring side from Canada was too good to pass up."

The Match began with Shawnigan Lake captain and flyhalf Jonty Nicholas managing the field position nicely. Both sides looked to use the boot and really it was more kicking than DLS had seen in any game all season. It was a new look for the Spartans.

"I was proud of how our boys adjusted to this early in the match and started to learn from it as well," said Holmberg. "We also learned that if you get separated from support against this team they will make you pay. We lost eight to 10 balls to them in the first half."

About eight minutes into the first half, Shawnigan Lake was penalized for holding-on and fullback Parker Beilke smacked a 35-meter penalty goal to stake his side to a 3-0 lead. Seven minutes later Beilke looked to clear from inside his 22. With the wind boosting the kick the ball almost rolled dead 80 meters down the field. Instead, Shawnigan Lake's fullback Rio Ichio was able to field it only to take the ball ball back into in-goal and step on touch in-goal.

That resulted in a five-meter scrum, and from there DLS No. 8 Jimmy Rainsford picked up and made it close to the line before lock Kai Moananu-Apela picked up and was over. Beilke converted and it was 1-0 Spartans.

With 12 minutes to go, Rainsford ripped the ball away from their the Shawnigan Lake runner, broke through a few tackles, and go his side within 10 meters. Shawnigan was penalized for hands in the ruck and after a tap the ball was sent wide to Beilke, who stepped inside the cover defense to score. The conversion was good and DLS were heading into halftime up 17-0.

But before the break, De La Salle prop Harrison Kapust poached the ball, forcing a penalty. Beilke opted for the posts and put it through to make it 20-0.

In the second half Shawnigan Lake played with the wind they looked to kick a lot to control the field position. That tactic got Shawnigan on the front foot and after a DLS penalty Nicholas put it over to make it 20-3.

But the De La Salle defense hung tough after that.

"Our boys performed well in contact and really kept an explosive side in front of us for most of it," said Holmberg. Shawnigan Lake had plenty of chances to score. They had at least five scrums or lineouts within five meters of the DLS line. Somehow, though, the Spartans were able to stop Shawnigan from scoring.

"Instead of putting our heads down and feeling sorry for ourselves, the boys played with more energy and effort and turned them away empty handed each time."

Late in the match DLS almost iced it with a spectacular play. Chris Biller and Lucas Meranda have been outstanding for DLS with ball in hand and they worked a movement down the field with Biller setting up Meranda for a run down the sideline. Merande chipped the ball over the opposing wing and chased the ball down. He dove on it, but just knocked the ball on. It would have been a nice try but DLS ended up with no score and the game ended 20-3.

"This was a great experience for all," said Holmberg. "Coach Andrew, Jeff and their entire team were great guests and were treated to some of the best BBQ in Northern California.  As the boys ate together, the bartering began, and before we knew it several of our players were wearing Shawnigan Lake gear and the Shawnigan Lake boys walked away with some Spartan swag as well.

"Our school loved hosting the event and are blown away by the uniqueness of rugby. The offer was extended for us to tour and stay with Shawnigan Lake next year, and we are looking to make that our 2025 tour destination.  They play rugby the right way and we learned a lot from the match.  I was pleased with how well the boys performed but know we haven't come close to our full potential yet.  This is the youngest side we've ever had and they are showing that age is just a number."