UVic, McMaster capture 2014 National University Sevens Championships

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Story and team photos: Bryan Kelly. Photos: Kasey Eriksen (ISN)

March 9, 2014, Langford (ISN) – On Saturday afternoon the Uvic Vikes wrapped up the 2014 National University Rugby Sevens Championships at Westhills Stadium with an emphatic 24-19 victory over UBC. The win over their provincial rivals saw the hometown Vikes capture back-to-back titles and their third championship in four years.

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(Photo: Bryan Kelly)

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(Photo: Bryan Kelly)

Earlier in the day, McMaster, lead by the Player of the Tournament Cindy Nelles, defeated the University of Lethbridge 24-7 to capture the tournament title in the Women’s competition.

The fourth installment of the National University Rugby Sevens Championship, held at the home of Canadian rugby in Langford, BC, was again a successful event with 26 teams in competition over three days this weekend.

WOMEN’S DAY THREE WRAP UP:

The Final Day of the tournament only featured four Women’s games, but none of them disappointed today’s fervent crowd.

In exciting fashion, the York Lions defeated the UVIC Vikes 2 31-19 to capture the Women’s Bowl Competition. The Plate Final saw 2012 and 2013 Champions Guelph defeat the Western Mustangs 24-5.

Following those two fixtures, the UVIC Vikes 1 used the excited crowd’s support to defeat last year’s runner-up University of Alberta 15-0.

Despite narrowly losing all three of their pool games on Day One of the tournament, the McMaster Marauders upset Guelph and hammered Alberta in the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals to advance to the Finals on Sunday.

McMaster’s opponents would be the University of Lethbridge, who qualified for the finals by handling Western and UVIC 1 on Day Two of competition.

Despite a strong effort from Lethbridge, McMaster would prevail 24-7 to capture their first National Sevens Title.

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MEN’S DAY THREE WRAP UP:

Sunday kicked off with two men’s games, as Humber and Western defeated Royal Military College and Waterloo respectively in the Plate Semi-Finals.

The next two games of the day featured the men’s Cup Semi-Finals, where UBC easily handed Queens 31-0 before the Vikes won the all-UVIC game against the Norseman 41-0.

After a break in the action, which saw the women’s games wrap up, the men continued their play with Calgary defeating Mount Royal University 17-0 to capture the Bowl Championship. One of the more exciting games of the day followed with Humber defeating tournament favourites Western 27-12 to capture the Plate Title. Humber was lead by their captain Jason Chuck and the incredible scoring touch of Joseph Ginsberg and Justin Tota.

In the 3rd/4th game, Queens proved too much for the hometown UVIC Norsemen, as they were victorious 24-12.

The final game of the weekend saw the UVIC Vikes look to defend their title against the visiting UBC Thunderbirds in a re-match of the finals of the 2014 Las Vegas Sevens Invitational. In front of nearly 30,000 fans, UBC defeated UVIC earlier this year in January.

The game opened heavily in favour of the Thunderbirds with tries from Canada Sevens player Sean Ferguson and Canada Under-20 hopeful Harjun Gill.

Despite trailing early on, the experience of flyhalf Pat Kay – 2013 Men’s Player of the Tournament – and Beau Parker lead the charge to rally the Vikes. Two tries from Man of the Tournament, James Pitblado would bring them back into the game. UVIC took their first lead of the game when Parker broke free for the score, but Kay wasn’t able to convert. Score stood 19-14 for UVIC with less than four minutes remaining.

UBC would draw the game even with a beautiful solo try from Liam Murphy-Burke, but his conversion attempt was also unsuccessful. With the game matted at 19-a-piece and little time left on the clock, the crowd was in for an exciting finish.

The game was won for the home side when youngster Kane Wyatt, son of former Canada player Mark Wyatt, broke through the defense to score under the posts. UBC was awarded one last scrummage deep inside their territory with no time left on the clock, but a cross-kick from Sandover-Best, which bounced into touch, signaled the end of the game and a victory for the Vikes.

Rugby Canada would like to thank all of the teams, players, match officials, team staff, volunteers, fans, sponsors and supporters of the 2014 National University Sevens Rugby Championship and we’ll see you next year!

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