Harlequins rugby club to face Salmon Arm in Okanagan semifinal

The Penticton Harlequins will take on the Salmon Arm Manthers in the Okanagan Rugby Union semifinal

THE PENTICTON HARLEQUINS (blue squared tops) look to defeat the Salmon Arm Manthers for the third time this season. A victory would have them facing the Vernon Jackals for the Okanagan Rugby Union championship.

THE PENTICTON HARLEQUINS (blue squared tops) look to defeat the Salmon Arm Manthers for the third time this season. A victory would have them facing the Vernon Jackals for the Okanagan Rugby Union championship.

A chance to face the Vernon Jackals in the Okanagan Rugby Union championship is at stake.

On Saturday, the Penticton Harlequins host the Salmon Arm Manthers in the ORU semifinal at McNicoll Park at 1 p.m. While the Harlequins won both matches against the Manthers this season, coach Ken Simpson doesn’t believe that gives them an edge.

“I don’t think there is any advantage because they closed the gap on us in the two games that we played them,” said Simpson, whose team won the last game May 14, 22-17 following a 42-12 result in their first match. “They were a lot stronger the second game. We didn’t get any flow at the game in Salmon Arm.”

Knowing the importance of the game, Simpson is focused on working different defensive strategies and coverage. He also plans to tweak their rucking and protecting the ball.

“It’s going to be typical hard hitting with Salmon Arm,” said Simpson.

Even with a spot in the championship game up for grabs, Simpson said his team doesn’t feel any pressure. It’s a matter of getting everything in place and playing better defence.

“If we put everything together on the field that we have been practicing we should have no problem,” he said.

Last weekend the Harlequins hosted their annual Sunfest fundraising tournament. Amid the fun, the Harlequins did sustain some injuries, including losing Jay Hacking for the season. The Harlequins will host the B.C. Rugby Union Saratoga Cup championship on Sept. 17-18.