by Elizabeth Chan,
(ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team were tied at 36-36 with the visiting Vancouver Rowing Club this afternoon, Nov. 22, in what seemed to be a back and forth affair at Wallace Field.
The Vikes struggled to keep the ball in possession in the first half of the game, giving the Rowers ample opportunities to lead in scoring. The Rowers notched a penalty ten minutes after the first whistle blow, opening the scores at 3-0.
Soon after, the Vikes countered with incredible speed as fourth-year fullback Luke McCloskey scored the first try and Guiseppe duToit successfully converted it for a 7-3 lead.
The Rowers were able to penetrate the Vikes line of defence however, and came back with 10-7 as Romain Plantey scored the try and Henry Recinos added the convert.
Vikes senior Remi Anctil and Crosby Stewart rushed more than halfway down the field for a new lead, but were intercepted by the Rowers who were unforgiving in their tackles.
DuToit enabled the Vikes to tie with the visitors at 10-10 after 30 minutes of the game. The Vikes relied again on their agility and speed as McCloskey bulleted across three-quarters of the field to score the next try. DuToit’s convert placed the Vikes at 17-10.
That lead would not last long as the Rowers came back with two tries from fullback Denis Barnett and one successful convert from Henry Recinos. At halftime, the Rowers led with 22-17.
“We didn’t play much to our strengths today,” said Rick Farrally, Vikes men’s rugby assistant head coach. “We had loose passes and the Rowers were able to capitalize on those mistakes.”
Minutes into the second half, Vike Macbryan Bos burst through the Rowers defence past the goal line and duToit once again converted the try, allowing the Vikes to gain a slim advantage of 24-22 over their headstrong opponents.
The Rowers tightened up their offensive lines for the Vikes were unable to catch up to Chris Seyler, who ran unimpeded for a try after a quarter into the second half. Winger Brian Derham successfully converted it to reverse the lead at 29-24 for the Rowers.
The Vikes in turn strengthened their defence as flanker Jeff Nishma-Miller, who led his team with the most tackles, stole the ball inches to the goal line. Teammate McCloskey also ran with impressive speed down the sidelines to bring the ball away from the danger zone.
With only minutes left to the final whistle blow, Vikes Doug Fraser would score a strategic try assisted by teammates Anctil and McCloskey. Unable to secure the convert, the Vikes were seven points ahead of the Rowers two minutes to finish. The tireless Rowers saw Duncan James succeed in squeezing a try in the dying minutes of the game and Recinos following with a convert to top the scores at 36-36 for both teams.
Next week marks the Barnard Cup final, with the Vikes facing off the Castaway Wanders at home on Wallace field. Kick off is set for 2.30 p.m. on Nov. 29.
Guiseppe duToit (4 converts, 1 penalty)
Luke McCloskey (2 tries)
Macbryan Bos (1 try)
Doug Fraser (1 try)