Andrew Smith 

Vancouver, BC: One of the longest standing rivalries in Canadian university rugby will take centre stage at Wolfson Fields this Saturday when the UVic Vikes men’s rugby team scrums down against the UBC Thunderbirds in the first round of the 2011-2012 Wightman Boot series.

More commonly known as “The Boot”, the home-and-home series played between the province’s top university rugby programs will be in its 41st edition this year. The annual competition was named after the late Brian Wightman, who was at the helm of the Thunderbirds from 1964-1967. The trophy for the annual competition features Wightman’s boot, which was stolen and bronzed by his players.

The “Boot Game” has featured the Vikes and Thunderbirds every year since 1970 with the exception of the 1978-79 season when UBC hosted Stanford. The Vikes have won 14 consecutive titles, recording the highest ever point margin in 2009-2010, outscoring the Thunderbirds 117-23.

The UVic squad currently boasts an advantage in the series having won 38 games to UBC’s 17 (series moved to a two-game format in 1996).

The second leg of the Boot series is still to be confirmed but will take place during the spring season in 2012.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to play against another university side, especially because UBC no longer plays in the Premier League season anymore,” said UVic head coach Doug Tate. “Even though our main rivals have been James Bay recently, the rivalry with UBC goes back quite a few years. Both teams know the importance of this fixture, and in recent years the score lines have been much closer as you could see when UBC across last season.”

The younger sides, UVic Jutes and UBC Totems squad will kickoff at 1:00pm with the senior Vikes and Thunderbirds scheduled for a 2:30pm start.

Boot Game – Round 1

Saturday, Nov. 5 at Wolfson Fields (UVic Vikes vs UBC Thunderbirds) 2:30pm

Saturday, Nov. 5 at Wolfson Fields (UVic Jutes vs UBC Totems) 1:00pm