roger knox/morning star Vernon Jackals flanker Lucas Hofer (right) makes one of his 15 tackles against Salmon Arm Manthers ball carrier Evan Moerike during the Jackals’ 67-7 Okanagan Rugby Union home opener win Saturday at Grahame Park.

Jackals punish Manthers

RUGBY: Vernon dispatches Salmon Arm 67-7 in ORU home opener

The Vernon Jackals’ Okanagan Rugby Union home opener was an overwhelming success.

The defending well-staffed Union champs took care of the undermanned Salmon Arm Manthers 67-7 Saturday at Grahame Park.

“It was good to see success by all of the new guys,” said Vernon coach Grant Kissling, who watched his squad build up a 31-0 halftime lead. “Things just went right today, and we hope to keep that going.”

The Jackals (2-0) were a confident group as they took on the league-leading Manthers (1-1). From the early going, the Jackals’ veterans led by example and set the tone. Vernon’s larger forward pack dominated multiple scrums.

Kyle Richardson and Jed Miller ran around and through the Manthers for two early tries apiece to separate the teams, while big man Mike (Truffle) Bridge and Lucas Hofer added scores before the intermission.

Hofer was also a force defensively, finishing with 15 tackles.

The second half turned into a showcase of different skills and new talent as the quick back line of Vernon turned on the kicking game and Jackal rookies went to work.

Eager to make their mark on the team, four newbies recorded their first tries in a Vernon uniform: Jan Vreys, Austin Williamson, birthday boy Newfie Trey Horton and Tristyn Weachter.

The Jackals host the Penticton Harlequins (0-2) in an ORU championship final rematch Saturday at 1 p.m. at Grahame Park. Vernon scored a season-opening 43-33 win over the Harlequins in Penticton.

The Fulton Maroons fell 59-19 to North Thompson Secondary of Clearwater in junior rugby action Monday in Kamloops.

Fulton struggled in the first 10 minutes and gave up three soft tries. They rallied in the remaining 20 minutes with a try from outside center Chapperon Chillihitzia and another off a spirited drive by the forwards that led to a try by Haden Catt. Evan Trottier converted one of the tries. Clearwater led 19-15 at the break.

The second half began with two quick scores by Clearwater, but Fulton rallied and showed real promise with a penalty try as result of Chillihitzia’s heads-up, determined. Fulton’s man of the match was Logan Higgs.

The Vernon Youth Touch Rugby program goes Sundays at 10 a.m. at Grahame Park. Boys and girls from kindergarten through Grade 7 are welcome.

“It is a fun non-contact introduction to the glorious sport of rugby,” said director Gord Cheyne. “Many of you watched the exciting 7’s version of rugby at the Olympics: this is where they started.”

You can now download the registration, waiver and poster on Facebook. E-transfers can now be made through vernonyouthtouchrugby@gmail.com.

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