Sept 6, 2014 (ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team found victory in
their opening match of the season against the Velox Valhallians on Sept. 6 at
Wallace Field. The match up was the first of the island’s prestigious Barnard Cup
series and the Vikes prevailed with a final score of 78-10. The Barnard Cup series
is one of the longest running sporting traditions in Western Canada, dating back to
1911. The current champions are the James Bay AA, who defeated the Vikes in last
year’s final 23-20.
The Vikes dominated from the opening minute of the game, converting on their first
try to go up 7-0 only 30 seconds into play. Guiseppe du toit powered through the try
line and Fergus Hall made the
Crosby Stewart led the Vikes’ steady
offensive push, running in a try from centre field for Hall to bring the score to
14-0 with another successful conversion.
Kapi Vaitaki wanted on the board, coming close to a try after flying down the left
side of the field but stepping out of bounds just inches from the try line. Not
deterred, the fourth year scored moments later after receiving a wide pass from a
scrum that broke out deep in the Velox end. Hall solidified the play, adding two
more points with his conversion.
Du toit added another five to the Vikes’ tally, but Hall was unable to convert from
wide on the right side, pinging the ball off the top of the uprights.
Stewart proved his speed endurance, bulleting down the right side of the field,
setup from Hall for a straight conversion, bringing the score to 33-0.
Isaac Kaay kept the Vikes score
increasing, adding another five just before Hall’s conversion.
With under 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Hall continued to dominate,
adding a try and conversion to his tally, bringing the score to 47-0, 17 of those
points belonging to the third-year fullback.
The Vikes scrum took a hit when MacBryan Bos left with an injury in the last five
minutes of first half play.
Noah Dobson, Dave Morgan, Vaughn Gaston
and Connor Llewellyn brought their fresh legs to the second half, which saw the
Vikes continue to dominate.
Casey Cavers ran an impressive try straight through the middle of the uprights,
again converted by Hall.
After back and forth play for much of the second half, Velox dashed the Vikes’
perfect score with an unconverted try from Aaron Crosby. With 20 minutes remaining,
the Vikes led 66-5.
Robbie Anderson earned a well-fought
try after an offensive attack from the Vikes. With the conversion, Anderson and Hall
brought the score to 73-5.
Connor Llewellyn added another five points, bringing the tally to 78-5. Both teams
battled for the remainder of the game, trading possession and fighting fitness and
endurance in the summer heat. Velox finally added to their tally thanks to Nick
Belyea with an unconverted try.
The final score was 78-10, giving the Vikes a decisive win for their first game of
the season and on track for the Barnard Cup finals.
Head coach Doug Tate, who enters his 21st
year as the Vikes men’s rugby coach, and assistant coach Rick
Farrally saw the Velox match as a chance
for their newer players to gain game experience.
“While we struggled to keep up with the speed Velox demonstrated, it was a good
first effort, a pretty nice score,” said Tate, who was impressed with his players
ability to convert Velox mistakes into UVic points.
“We still have lots to work on to become a more physical team,” said Tate.
The Vikes travel to the James Bay AA Sept. 13 for a 2:45 p.m. match. They’re back at
home Sept. 20 when they take on the Castaways at Wallace Field at 2:45 p.m.