Vikes face Thunderbirds in first leg of Boot series

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By: James Nielsen, Vikes Communications

November 7, 2013,  VICTORIA (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby squad will be looking to rebound from their second loss of their CDI Premier League season as they face rival UBC Thunderbirds, Nov. 9 at Wallace Field in the first leg of the 43rd annual Wightman Boot series.

The Vikes will look to capture their 17th straight Wightman boot with a roster chalk full of young talent.



In his 20th season at the helm of the men’s rugby program, Vikes head coach Doug Tate will have his hands full as his Vikes face a UBC Thunderbird squad that is currently undefeated in their 2013-14 Okanagan Spring Brewery Div. 1 season. The Thunderbirds have yet to allow more than 10 points in a match and shut out United Rugby Club in their most recent match, 94-0. Their roster features former Vike Ben Grant, now attending UBC for law.

“We have got lots of depth, I think we’ll be fine,” said head coach Tate. “I’m looking forward to the game, it will be interesting to see how UBC has improved, we’ve had it pretty easy over the last couple years, but I think their team will be substantially better.”

Turnovers proved to be the difference in the Vikes previous matchup against James Bay Athletic Association, where the Vikes had to battle adverse weather conditions for the first time in their season. With rain in the forecast, the Vikes will have to adjust their style of play to match the playing conditions.

“The field is going to be wet regardless this weekend,” said Tate. “Weather was a big factor in our last game, it really makes a diference when it’s pouring rain with the handling of the ball and knock-ons and break-downs. We can’t run around in our own end, we’ll make mistakes and it will be costly. “

The Wightman Boot competition, named after former UBC rugby coach Brian Wightman, has been contested on a yearly basis between UVic and UBC since 1970. The series is decided on total points scored over a two-game period. UVic has dominated the competition in recent memory, winning the last 16 boots dating back to the 1997-98 season. The series location is split between UVic and UBC, with the first the taking place on the Vikes home turf at Wallace Field.

The Vikes will look to shake off two previous losses and get back on the winning track when they face the Thunderbirds, Nov. 8 at 2:45 p.m. at Wallace Field.