By Elizabeth Chan, Vikes Communications
(ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby squad fell to the UBC Thunderbirds 23-19 this afternoon, Jan. 16, at Centennial Stadium. The T-Birds collected the prestigious Wightman trophy for the second year in a row with an aggregate score of 53-38 and remain first in the CDI Premier League standings.
Vikes eightman Nathan Stewart and prop Macbryan Bos were the try scorers for the home team, while outside half Guiseppe duToit and fullback Fergus Hall contributed in penalty kicks.
UBC try scorers were centres Nate Rees and James Thompson. Winger Brock Staller secured one convert and a penalty while sub Bryan Tyrer rolled off the pine to contribute a penalty.
“UBC played well today and they showed they are a dangerous team,” said Doug Tate, Vikes men’s rugby head coach. “We played better in the second half but we gave UBC too many chances. We missed some key converts, and that turned out to be the difference in this game.”
The Thunderbirds had a strong start in the opening half, coming close to scoring in the fourth minute but had the ball snatched away from the line by a gritty defensive Vikes line. Second-year Vike duToit was first to get on the board, coverting a kick at the 10-minute mark, giving UVic a 3-0 lead.
The T-Birds found their countering momentum soon enough as fullback Theo Sauder tore down the sidelines to set up team mate Thompson to score a try at the 17th minute. The try went unconverted to give UBC a 5-3 lead.
UVic increased their point streak to 11-5 after duToit earned another penalty 21 minutes into the game. The Vikes showed some clever passing skills and tenacity that eventually sprung fourth year Stewart to score the first try for UVic at the 24th-minute mark.
UBC amped up the offence as Rees managed to break through UVic’s defence, making a strong run to touch down for a try at the 31-minute mark. The ensuing kick was successfully converted by Staller to lift the T-Birds up 12-11.
UBC centre Rees was on fire, scoring another try in the 36th minute. That would go unconverted but UBC maintained their lead at 17-11 at the end of the first half. Entering injury time, Staller added a penalty kick so UBC held a 20-11 entering the break.
Although the Vikes struggled to secure penalty points in the early minutes of the second half, the home team managed to trim UBC’s lead to four, 20-16, when second-year prop Bos scored the second try for UVic.
UBC left them little room and the next few minutes saw both teams trading kicks with ten minutes remaining. T-Bird Tyler came off the bench to solidfy the penalty, stretching their lead to 23-16.
The Vikes replied with one of their own as fullback Hall made a successful kick. Time became an enemy for the Vikes, who were looking to find opportunities to score and edge the T-Birds who led 23-19.
The clock ticked into added time and the T-Birds denied UVic any last-ditch chances. UBC ended up reclaiming the Wightman Boot trophy this year with a final score of 23-19 and an aggregate score of 53-38. The T-Birds hang on to a two-year title of the Boot series following a 17-year run for the Vikes prior to 2014.
This marks the 44th annual Boot series between the provincial rivals since 1970. The competition is named after the late Brian Wightman, who was a UBC rugby coach from 1964-67. Whichever team totals the most points after the two-game series retains the Boot trophy.
Up next, the Vikes will face James Bay Athletics Association in CDI Premier play. That game will take place on Jan. 31 at Wallace Field, with kick off set for 2:30 p.m. The Vikes will then travel to Germany from Feb. 7-14 for a tour that will include three matches against top club teams.
Nathan Stewart (1 try)
Guiseppe duToit (2 PK)
Macbryan Bos (1 try)
Fergus Hall (1 PK)
James Thompson (1 try)
Nate Rees (2 tries)
Brock Staller (1 C, 1 PK)
Bryan Tyrer (1 PK)