VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team returns to action this weekend, Oct. 16, against James Bay Athletics Association. The friday night lights game at Centennial Stadiumis set for 7:00 p.m. The 3-0 Vikes will move from their traditional home at Wallace Field to the stadium atmosphere for their next two home games of the season.
This Friday will be a different experience from when the Vikes defeated James Bay on the opening day of the season 32-0 at Wallace Field on Sept. 19. The Bays are currently 1-2-0 in the B.C. Rugby Premier League, good for third spot in the four-team standings, that ultimately hold the island’s Barnard Cup title on the line. The teams will benefit from both a different experience and altered lineups from their last match up.
“(Centennial Stadium) is a bit more narrow than Wallace and the surface is a bit faster,” commented Vikes men’s rugby head coach Doug Tate on the location switch. “It only has a five-metre end zone, so being backed up into your own end zone might change how you play defence a little bit. It might force us to play a little bit more direct than we normally do.”
“James Bay could be without a key player as Jordan Wilson-Ross may face suspensions after a recent red card. (Jordan’s) role in Friday’s game has yet to be determined,” said Tate. “He’s a great player and could be a big loss for them.”
The Vikes continued their undefeated run to begin their Barnard Cup with a close 29-23 win on Oct. 3 against the Castaway Wanderers. It was a tough test for the Vikes after out-scoring their opponents in their first two games 109-24.
“Our last match was a good test, and we learned where a lot of our deficiencies are,” added Tate. “These games are good for getting down the patterns in play. We need to build on what we’ve been doing in our last three games, but when you play a team three times – as we will with the teams in our league – you need to start to change things up.”
“We’ve been working on some new things in training that we’ve yet to give a try in a same setting.”