It was crunch time for Penticton Harelquins ball carrier Brandon Rae courtesy a Vernon Jackals defender in the first game of the Okanagan Rugby Union season Saturday at the McNicoll Park Oval. Mark Brett/Western News

Jackals prey on Harlequins

Vernon Jackals defeat Penticton Harlequins in rugby season opener

The Penticton Harlequins were in deep again versus the Vernon Jackals in the season opener of the Okanagan Rugby Union Saturday at McNicoll Park Oval.

The hard-hitting Jackals picked up where they left off in the 2017 league championship with a 37-10 win powered by a strong first half effort racking up most of their points.

The Jackals are the two-time defending league champions beating the Harlequins in the 2017 final.

“It was our first game and for a lot of these guys it was the first game they played together so as the game went on our system started to settle as the guys got some game time,” said playing coach Brenden Ferreira after the match. “We’ve got some guys who this is their first time playing with us, in the beginning especially the defence was a bit sketchy but it got better as the game went on.

“It’s hard as usual, every time we play Vernon it’s a physical game.”

Scrum half Jaun Adams agreed with his coach’s assessment.

“It was a little rough, the boys are still getting to know each other, pretty good for the first game but I think we have lots of improvements to do,” he said. “I do see a bright season ahead, I think if we get more numbers (players) out might help the guys get more air, get a bit of rest between plays.”

Related: Harlequins eyeing league title and Saratoga Cup

Adams was one of the bright spots on the field for the Harlequins in the game being named one of the team’s two “man of the match” players decided by the teams.

The other selection for the Harlequins was Cash Conibear.

The winners got their points on six tries, one converted and the Harlequins had two tries.

“It’s looking good for the rest of the season, we lost today but it’s good to see some of our systems start to click as the game went on,” said Ferreira.

The Harlequins are back in action Saturday when they host the Kelowna Crows at McNicoll Park Oval. Game time is 1 p.m.

Other confirmed dates include a pair of matches against Salmon Arm May 5 at home and May 26 in Salmon Arm. They will be in Vernon June 2.

The league semi’s are June 23 with the finals July 7 and the Saratoga Cup provincial championships will follow at a date to be determined.

 

Justin Gabriel heads (right) heads down field with Penticton Harlequins teammate Jay Hacking versus the Vernon Jackals Saturday in Penticton. Vernon won the season opener 37-10. Mark Brett/Western News

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