Whiskey Jacks advance to provincial final

Daily Herald File Photo Pelasio Vereakula of the Prince Albert Whiskey Jacks used his speed to get around members of the Saskatoon Gophers last year.

A total team effort propelled the Prince Albert Whiskey Jacks to an important win Saturday.

In a provincial Division II semifinal matchup in Saskatoon, the Whiskey Jacks prevailed in a wild 63-32 affair over the host Gophers to advance into the provincial championship game on Saturday, Sept. 15 in Regina.

“Our lineup is strong from top to bottom right now and we turned in a great performance,” Whiskey Jacks forward Darcy Murphy said.

“We really controlled things from start to finish and played the type of rugby that teams from Prince Albert are known for. We ran hard and tackled hard, we made a lot of smart decisions and we limited the amount of penalties that we took.”

After taking a 17-5 lead in the opening 20 minutes, the Whiskey Jacks kicked things into high gear on offence as they were able to pull away from a Gopher side that got the majority of their points in the late stages of the match.

“I think that’s one of the highest point totals we ever had,” Murphy said. “Our passing was great right from the start, along with our running, and we were able to score on a consistent basis.

“A huge part of our success had to with how much we were physically dominating them. As a result, we were able to take advantage of their mistakes and find some holes in their defence as the match went along.”

The Whiskey Jacks are now playing the waiting game when it comes to who they will face in the provincial final, as they’ll go up against the winner of a semifinal matchup on Saturday, Sept. 8 between the Regina Condors and Regina Highlanders.

“We’ve played the Condors in our season opener and we’ve faced the Highlanders three times this year, but you throw all of that out the window when you get to a provincial final,” Murphy said. “Everybody will be fired up for that game and whoever we face will be extra motivated to play on their home field.

“We got some momentum on our side though and we’re looking to build on that through our practices over the next couple of weeks. We’re going to be spending a lot of time working on our strategy in order to get ready for that game.”