By Natalie Wise, Vikes Communications – Photographs by Judy Teasdale (ISN)
March 7, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – With a chance to represent Canada at the 2013 Junior World Rugby Trophy on the line, the 30-man U-20 roster taking on the University of Victoria Vikes Wednesday night at Centennial Stadium had everything to prove.
The young Canadian side put the pressure on in the first five minutes of the game, demonstrating to the Vikes that they would not be taken lightly. A series of scrums at the Vikes’ 22-metre line gave Canada the upper hand but UVic was successful at keeping the U-20 men at bay.
Canada U20s Men’s Rugby Team – Photo by Judy Teasdale
University of Victoria Men’s Rugby Team – Photo by Judy Teasdale
After a Vikes line out at Canada’s 22-metre line the Canadians used their speed and some quick offloading with a chip and chase that looked like a sure try. Mishandling the ball, the U-20 men lost possession and the Vikes took the opportunity to clear it with a long kick down the sideline.
U20’s Lucas Hammond led to five points – Photo by Judy Teasdale
In the 13th minute of play the Vikes earned a penalty kick. Rookie Fergus Hall sent the ball through the posts to put UVic on the scoreboard and give them the upper hand at 3-0.
Pat Kay had a good night on the field – Photo by Judy Teasdale
A mere two minutes later, the Vikes were answered by a Canadian penalty kick taken by UVic’s own Patrick Kay (Duncan, B.C.). Making good on the attempt, Kay tied it up for the U-20 men.
Canada was first to cross the line after an initial break by Lucas Hammond led to five points from Kay. With a missed conversion, the scoreline was at 8-3 for the U-20 side.
After another penalty was called in favour of the Vikes, Hall got another shot at putting three additional points on the board. With the kick good, the Vikes closed the gap to come within two of the U-20 men.
Pat Kay on a scoring try at Centennial Field Wednesday night – Photo by Judy Teasdale
Proving that he had the boot to beat, Hall put up another three points when the Vikes were awarded their third penalty kick of the match. Going into the half, the Vikes were up over Canada 9-8.
James Pitblado finds a clearing – Photo by Judy Teasdale
After the break, Hall was unstoppable with another successful penalty kick and Vikes increased their lead to make it 12-8. After several minutes of mid-field play the U-20 men were knocking on the door. Some excellent defensive play from the Vikes saw the UVic men with a clearing kick and the Canadians were out of try contention.
UVIC’s Fergus Hall closes the gap within two – Photo by Judy Teasdale
After heavy pressure from Canada in UVic’s end a turnover forced by Robbie Anderson (Calgary, AB) resulted in a fast break for the Vikes. After a series of well-timed offloads, Vike Reid Tucker crossed the line to score UVic’s first try of the game, making the score 17-8 for the home side.
Matt Heaton taking control – Photo by Judy Teasdale
Canada’s U-20 men had the final say when Ryan March tallied to make it 17-13 but it was not enough as the Vikes’ defense was rock solid.
Jeff Nishima battles for position – Photo by Judy Teasdale
“I think the guys really stepped up, you could tell they were playing with a lot of emotion,” said head coach of the Vikes, Doug Tate. “They were under a lot of pressure defensively at the end and they did well to hang in there. It was a good experience for them.”
The final score saw the Vikes taking the game 17-13. Next up for the UVic men is an away game on Mar. 9 against the Castaway Wanderers, 2:45 p.m. at Windsor Park.
Fergus Hall – 12 (4 penalty kicks)
Reid Tucker – 5 (1 try)
Pat Kay – 8 (1 penalty kick, 1 try)
Ryan March – 5 (1 try)