By: James Nielsen, Vikes Communications
October 2, 2013, VICTORIA – After failing to qualify for last year’s CDI Premier League post season, the University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team enter the 2013 Premier League season looking to be a strong contender in the league, beginning with an Oct. 5 match up against the 13-time Rounsefell Cup champions, the Meralomas. The game will be played at 2:45 p.m. at UVic’s Wallace Field.
This season’s Vikes roster features a mix of veteran players as well as a deep pool of talented newcomers to draw upon. Depth has always been a necessity for the Vikes riugby program, who feature several players that travel and compete in at least seven international 15’s and 7’s tournaments throughout the year.
The Vikes squad boasts several returning players including Patrick Kay, Nathan Hirayama, Sean Duke, Chase Kelliher, Liam Murray, Dan Hrycyk, Shea Wakefield, Beau Parker and Nathan Yanagiya. Shawnigan Lake grad Guiseppe du Toit has shown well since joining the Vikes senior squad in their first Barnard Cup qualifying match on Sept. 13. The young Vike has made the jump to the first team after national commitments for Hirayama and Duke opened up positions within the Vikes roster. Since joining, du Toit has impressed with his kicking abilities, posting five conversions and two penalty kicks in the Vikes match against Velox.
The Vikes enter the CDI Premier Season having won three straight Barnard Cup matches, most recently a 44-19 victory over Velox Rugby Club on Sept. 28. The Meralomas, who also failed to qualify for last year’s playoffs, have slowly improved following several pre-season matches. The club has lost several key members this season and will rely heavily on an influx of young talent to push them towards a playoff berth this season. With a heavy dose of young players, the Meralomas will look towards veterans Mike Hall, Shawn Mercier and Alex Boyd to bring composure and experience to the roster.
Several newcomers will look to cement spots on the Vikes roster as they aim to open the season with a victory and take the first step towards a CDI Premier League playoff push.