By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – A great crowd was on hand to watch the University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team defeat James Bay Athletic Association in Barnard Cup action 41-22 at Centennial Stadium on Oct. 16. The Vikes remain undefeated at 4-0 thanks to their second win this season over rivals James Bay, who falls to 1-3.
The Vikes moved from their traditional home of Wallace Field for their first of two games this season under the lights of Centennial Stadium.
Fourth-year Vike Kapi Vataiki and flanker Oliver Nott each added a pair of tries in the victory, with Bhiamie Williamson adding a single of his own. Outside centre Guiseppe du Toit was full value on all of his attempted conversions, adding in a penalty kick. Outside half Grady Bowd opened the scoring with a drop kick early in the first half.
James Bay didn’t get on the board until late in the first half, but outscored the Vikes in the second half 15-14. Noah Barker, Graham Harriman and Aaron Evison scored tries for James Bay with Cam Hall adding two converts and two penalty kicks in the loss.
“I thought we did well to deal with some early pressure,” said Vikes men’s rugby head coach Doug Tate. “We gave up more points than I thought we should have, but when you score 41 points against a team like James Bay, that’s a good sign.”
In the first ten minutes of the game, the Vikes opened up to an early 10-0 lead. Bowd scored the first points of the game with a nicely placed drop kick. Vataiki ran in the Vikes first major score shortly after, before inside centre Guiseppe du Toit added the conversion to make it 10-0 Vikes.
James Bay outside centre Nathan Tough looked the most deadly early on for the visitors, making two dangerous thirty-yard runs that hassled the Vikes defence.
The Vikes eventually extended their lead with their third and fourth tries in succession to begin the game. Nott ran in his first of two tries on the night before Vataiki completed his pair to put the Vikes up 24-0.
James Bay would get on the board before the half thanks to Noah Barker. But right before the whistle blew for half time, du Toit tacked on three points with a penalty kick to lead the Vikes into half-time up 27-7.
After the break, James Bay began to make things interesting, cutting the Vikes lead to 27-15. After a penalty kick from Hall, Harriman drove in a try of his own with the following conversion being missed. It was a two-score game with twenty minutes to go.
That would be as close as James Bay would get, however, with Williamson increasing the Vikes lead minutes later to 27-15. After Evison cut into the Vikes’ advantage again for James Bay, Nott wrapped it up with his second try with ten minutes to go. The Vikes carried their lead to the final whistle, winning 41-22.
The Vikes defence was alert in the second half, especially when two Vikes players were in the sin bin at the same time to leave them at thirteen players.
“With thirteen guys, we dealt with the pressure well,” added Tate. “They had a lot of scrums in our end that could’ve easily turned into tries. I thought that was the highlight of the game for sure.”
James Bay was a different team than the one the Vikes beat 32-0 opening day on Sept. 19. They were bolstered by a lot of fresh faces that played a key role in tonight’s contest.
“Ben Johnson in the back row is a force,” said Tate. “Phil Mack came on at half-time, and he’s a world class player. Tactically, they kicked a lot of balls at us and applied a lot of pressure. They started moving forward with their forwards and have a lot of speedy backs.
Both teams return to action Oct. 24, with the Vikes against the Castaway Wanderers at Windsor Park in Victoria and James Bay taking on Westshore RFC at MacDonald Park.
1 2 F
UVIC: 27 14 41
JBAA: 7 15 22
UVIC: G. Bowd (1D), K. Vataiki (2T) O. Nott (2T), G. du Toit (5C, 1P), B. Williamson (1T),
JBAA: N. Barker (1T), C. Hall (2C, 2P), G. Harriman (1T), A. Evison (1T)