By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. – It wasn’t the outcome that they wanted but the University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team still held their heads high following a great season that found them in the Rounsefell Cup match up for the first time since 2010. The Vikes fell 52-22 to a tough and on-form UBC Thunderbirds squad today, May 9, at Klahanie Park in North Vancouver in the final of the CDI Premier League.
The Vikes conceded nine tries today, while Fergus Hall was attributed 17 of the Vikes’ 22 points today thanks to his five penalty kicks and his one convert. Luke McCloskey was credited the Vikes’ lone try.
“They just outplayed us,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate after the match. “(UBC’s) counter-attack was really deadly and their center’s scored some early tries. We haven’t given up nine tries for a long, long time so, credit to them they out played us.”
The UBC Thunderbirds got off to a quick start converting on a penalty kick in the opening three minutes and following it up with a try just four minutes after. T-Bird Bryan Tyrer sparked the play down the right side that led to UBC’s first try, while stand-out kicker Brock Staller’s convert attempt pinged off the outside of the uprights. The Thunderbirds led 8-0 until the 14th minute when the Vikes got on the board.
Victoria earned their first penalty kick that was converted well by Hall, while the Thunderbirds were quick to rebuild momentum. UBC continued to find success down the right side, earning their second try to go up 13-3 just 15 minutes into the game. Staller’s wide-angled convert attempt went wide left.
In the 16th minute a nice passing play led to McCloskey gaining possession near the touch line on the left side. McCloskey was taken down hard by Tyrer right as he crossed the line and the play resulted in Tyrer getting sent off, while McCloskey was awarded the try. Hall completed the convert from mid-field as the Vikes tied it up 13-13.
UBC earned another try from their right-side attack in the 28th minute and Staller made good on the convert to give the Thunderbirds a 20-13 lead entering half time.
In the second half the Vikes were able to catch up thanks to two successful penalty kicks made by Hall. Trailing just 20-19 at the 48th-minute mark, the Vikes then conceded a try right up the middle of the park to UBC’s Nate Rees. Staller easily made the convert to send UBC up 27-19.
The team’s traded penalty kicks to get the game up to 30-22, still in UBC’s favour, while T-Bird Quinton Willms opened the game up on the next play. Willms burned down the left side barely touched to get UBC up 35-22, while Staller’s ensuing convert attempt went wide.
The T-Birds kept on coming with two more tries, the first of which came from the fresh legs of Manar Kulkhan. Kulkhan ran nearly half the length of the pitch with Vikes players trying to bring him down but he did well to hang on to the touch line. UBC grabbed one more try from Kulkhan before the final whistle and that play when unconverted but the Thunderbirds had done enough damage needed. UBC took the game 52-22 winning their first Rounsefell Cup and CDI Premier League title since 1947.
“Doug Fraser played right to the end,” mentioned Tate about the efforts of his seniors. “(Fraser) did a lot of the heavy going and took a lot of contact. Also, Dustin (Dobravsky) did a great job at the back of the scrum but it was just one of those days where you don’t get a lot of room to run.
The Vikes will say goodbye to several graduating seniors including Dustin Dobravsky, Luke McCloskey, Doug Fraser, Remi Anctil, Connor Liewellyn, Shea Wakefield and Casey Cavers.
“It’s been a good year and it’s tough not finishing on a high but apart from the rugby it’s just time with the group and the friendships we made that are almost more important,” said Dobravsky following the game. “I hope that our seniors gave a good example of leadership to the rest of the guys and they can use that to keep building the legacy of the UVic rugby team.”
Fergus Hall (5 PK, 1 C)
Luke McCloskey (1 Try)