Swilers RFC will be looking for its 10th straight Goodyear Cup championship today and, based on recent years, it’s likely they’ll achieve it.
The defending champions will take on the Dogs RFC 3 p.m. at Swilers Complex for the trophy that is emblematic of provincial senior A men’s rugby supremacy.
“It’s a massive challenge for the Dogs having not been in the final for quite a few years… maybe even five or six,” said Dogs coach Simon Blanks.
“The Swilers have the more experienced players in key positions, so the Dogs will have to play out of their skins to be in with a shout of an upset,” noted Blanks.
Meanwhile, the rumour going around that retired rugby superstar Rod Snow was coming out of retirement to play for the Dogs in the Cup final is “completely untrue,” said Blanks.
The Dogs advanced by defeating the Baymen, and Swilers earned a spot in the final by beating the Vandals.
“On paper, I think we should be seen as favourites,” said Swilers player-coach Morgan Lovell. “But,” he added, “we need to play at our best to defeat an improving Dogs team.”
The Swilers crushed Baymen 80-5 to win the Goodyear Cup last season for the team’s ninth straight title.
Here are the lineups for the 2013 Goodyear Cup:
Swilers lineup: Danny King, Matthew Smallwood, Colin Hearns, Teddy Cadigan, Justin Meyers, Owen Parfrey, Alex Calon, Zac Coughlan, Adam Paul, Fede Cisneros, Devin Lacey, Johnny Daley, Robert Wilson , Patrick McNicholas, coach Morgan Lovell
Dogs lineup: Stephen Cutcliffe, Jordon Power, Bob Rogers, Brad Lester, Geoff O’Brien, Mike Duff, Matt Murphy, Matt O’Reilly, Ben Whelan, Josh Sellars, Colin Hogan Alex Rogers,Matt Hebbard, Mike Collins, Josh Nash, Shawn Field, Grant Casey, Robert Burry, Tyler Godden, Nathan Thomas, Chris Brown, Grant Ledrew, Tommy Anstey, Adam Reid, Graham Ledrew, Ryan Stratton, Matthew Jenkins, coach Simon Blanks.
While last year’s final was a laugher, there have been a few close finishes in the Goodyear Cup history.
‰ 1997: Sebastian Higgins’ drop goal from about 40 yards as time ran out in overtime provided the margin of victory as Swilers edged Dogs 26-23 in one of the most memorable Cup finals in the competition’s history. It was the closest final since 1991 when Memorial Rugby Club, made up of mostly Swilers club members, edged Swilers RFC 36-35.
‰ 1999: Mike Carew’s last-minute, 10-metre run provided the game-winning try as Swilers pulled out an 8-5 victory over the Vandals in a classic Cup final played in late October.
‰ 2008: Conception Bay South’s Baymen, making their first appearance in a Goodyear Cup, almost won the championship falling 10-7 to Swilers.
Notes: Dogs of Mount Pearl and Baymen have never won the Goodyear Cup. Vandals have two wins to their credit, a 20-13 win over Swilers in 2001 match and an 18-12 victory over Swilers two years later which is the last time the Swilers lost a final. Knights of Avalon won the Goodyear Cup in 1983, breaking the Swilers dominance in the 1980s ... Swilers beat Vandals in the 1994 final in Harbour Grace. It was the first time the event had been held outside of St. John’s.
Goodyear Cup winners since 1990:
1990: Swilers def. Memorial University
1991: MUN 36, Swilers 35 (replay)
1992: Swilers 22, Dogs 5
1993: Swilers 47, Barbarians 6
1994: Swilers 49, Vandals 7
1995: Swilers 32, Dogs 10
1996: Swilers 29, Vandals 10
1997: Swilers 26, Dogs 23
1998: Swilers 38, Dogs 8
1999: Swilers 8, Vandals 5
2000: Swilers 19, Vandals 10
2001: Vandals 20, Swilers 13
2002: Swilers 25, Vandals 5
2003: Vandals 18, Swilers 12
2004: Swilers 54, Dogs 10
2005: Swilers 34, Dogs 18
2006: Swilers 38, Dogs 21
2007: Swilers 17, Dogs 6
2008: Swilers 10, Baymen 7
2009: Swilers 20, Baymen 5
2010: Swilers 37, Baymen 10
2011: Swilers 49, Baymen 7
2012: Swilers 80, Baymen 5