by James Nielsen, Vikes Communications
March 18, 2014, VICTORIA (ISN) – After claiming victory at the National University Seven’s tournament, March 9 in Langford, the University of Victoria Vikes return to CDI Premier League action March 22 as they visit the struggling Meraloma Rugby Club, looking to end a losing skid that has seen them fall to sixth-place in league standings.
A slow start to the new year has seen the Vikes conceding four straight league losses that include a forfeit due to commitments at the University Seven’s tournament. With the Hong Kong Seven’s tournament on the horizon and Canada U-20’s currently overseas, head coach Doug Tate will once again pull from his Division 1 squad to fill gaps left by national team members such as Nathan Yanagiya and James Pitblado.
The Vikes will welcome the return of Fergus Hall, who has been sidelined for several games due to injury. Despite being limited to just six games this season, the second-year Vike still ranks second in league scoring with 68 points, trailing Burnaby Lake’s Geoff Ryan by just seven points.
The departure of key veterans Eric Wilson, Sam Jenkins and Callum Morrison have impacted the Meraloma’s heavily this season, with the storied rugby club going winless in league action and sitting at the bottom of the table with five points. The young Vancouver squad has struggled on both sides of the ball this season, posting the lowest offensive total out of all eight league teams while allowing the most points against.
“Their record doesn’t indicate the kind of team that they are,” said Tate. “They’re a good team and they’re playing at home. Weather could play a factor. If field conditions are not great, that could come into play.”
Meraloma has relied heavily on player Mike Hall, who accounts for nearly half of the teams overall points scored, having posted 53 through eight games of play. Next up in scoring for the squad is Alex Boyd with 25 points, while seven players sit with five points on the season.
The two teams face off at Connought Park, March 22 at 2:45 p.m.