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(BURLINGTON, ON) – The Ontario Blues have won the opening match of their 2013 Canadian Rugby Championship season, defeating the Atlantic Rock in a nail-biter, 27-25, at Burlington’s Sherwood Forest Park. 

In a back-and-forth match that saw the constant trading of tries and penalties, it was the clinical kicking of Ontario tandem Steve Piatek and Derek Daypuck that ensured victory for the Blues, as the duo did not miss a single conversion or penalty on the day.

“We survived,” said Blues head coach Chris Silverthorn, describing the match. “It was a bit sloppy, but the guys really got stuck in. Defensively, we were solid, and we didn’t miss a lot of tackles, but offensively, we would have liked to have had the ball a little more.”

After giving up an early penalty to the Rock, the Blues responded with consecutive tries from winger Ryan MacSween and No. 8 Cam Stones, both of which were converted by Piatek, to regain the first-half momentum.

The Rock quickly fought back with a try under the posts from fly half Patrick Parfrey, which was converted by winger Robert Wilson. Despite the Blues adding a Piatek penalty minutes later, a late first-half try by Rock No. 8 Zac Coughlan was converted, knotting the score at 17-17 on the halftime whistle.

The Rock started the second half as the stronger of the two sides, adding another early penalty to regain the lead, 20-17. However, the Blues immediately responded with a gritty try from Daypuck under the posts, which was converted by Piatek, bringing the score to 24-20 in favour of Ontario.

The lead would be short-lived, as the pendulum soon swung in the Rock’s direction, with fullback Alex Rogers scoring a try to restore the Rock’s lead, 25-24.

The Rock were unable to convert their final try – a play that would come back to haunt the Atlantic side, as a late Daypuck penalty, combined with a spirited display of defense, was enough to see Ontario through to a 27-25 win.

With the Blues without five starters from last year’s Championship-winning side (Ray Barkwill, Tom Dolezel, John Moonlight, Liam Underwood, and Doug Wooldridge) due to international duties, the squad called on a number of fresh faces to fill the gaps. Five Blues – Pat Richardson, Jesse Lofthouse, Djustice Sears-Duru, Mike Sheppard, and Matt Alexander – all received their first senior provincial caps in Ontario’s victory over the Rock.


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