The Bow Valley Grizzly appear right at home in their first two matches in premiere Alberta Cup rugby play.

The Cochrane-based men's rugby team won their first two games of the season in the province's top men's rugby league. They opened with a convincing 74-10 over the Calgary Irish, May 5,  before playing the tougher Calgary Saints to a 43-32 finish, May 12.

"The boys played well in both games," says head coach Ty Hawes. "You could not ask too much more from a start than that. I'm pretty happy with it."

The Griz racked up an early lead by the half and held off a Saints comeback to win 43-32 on Saturday. (Photo Courtesy of Tim Tivendale)

"I think we've definitely turned a few heads. We had a slightly bigger crowd the second game than the first so I think teams are taking notice."

Last year's tier 2 provincial champions made the jump to premier men's rugby this season and haven't looked back, but there's lots of season ahead and many tough opponents on the horizon in Alberta Cup play.

The Saints, for one, made it close after the Griz were ahead 31-10 at the half.

"We definitely have to work on our fitness and stuff and kept things together going forward. But they still played quite well and held on at the end for the victory. It was a good character builder for them and I'm looking forward to seeing what else they can do this year."

Making the jump has also seen some players return to the Griz from other div. 1 teams, including Brandon Harrison and Connor O'Neil.

"We've had a bit of interesting. Quite a few football players are keen to get into it. It's good for them to have an option."

Their home opener at Mitford Pond is a rematch against the Irish, June 16. Next weekend they hit the road to play St. Albert.

The division 2 Griz team is 1-1 on the season after beating the Irish in their opening game, 52-2, before losing to the Calgary Saints, 60-26. The Div. 2 Griz have their home opener against the Red Deer, May 26 at 1 p.m. at Mitford Pond.

There's no league play during the long weekend, although some of the Griz are heading to Edmonton for a 7s tournament.

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