By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team added to their unbeaten streak by defeating the Castaway Wanderers 29-20 at Centennial Stadium . The Vikes are now 8-0 while the Castaway Wanderers are 4-3 heading into their final two league games against the James Bay Athletic Association.
After the Wanderers took an early lead, the Vikes didn’t relinquish control as they took the lead back and held on to it for the rest of the game. Vikes winger Crosby Stewart, scrumhalf James Pitblado, flanker Luke Campbell, hooker Casey Reed and inside centre Joe Erlic added tries while Guiseppe du Toit added two conversions in the win.
“We played against a front row including the likes of James Wooldridge that just came back from the World Cup for Canada, so I thought our front row matched them very well,” said Vikes men’s rugby head coach Doug Tate. “Our scrums were solid and we attacked well when we had our opportunities. The Castaways played well, it was a physical match, and the wet field made both teams prone to turnovers.”
The Wanderers took the lead early in the second minute when flanker Nate Oliver drove over the Vikes defence to touch down a try. The Wanderers led 5-0 after the try conversion was missed.
The Vikes evened the score 5-5 in the 23rd minute through Pitblado, who finished off a series of chances on the Wanderers goal line.
Ten minutes before the half, the Vikes took the lead when Stewart found space on the right side and ran in uncontested. The try was his fourth in two games after a hat-trick of tries against the James Bay Athletic Association on Nov. 7.
Both teams entered half time with the Vikes ahead 10-5. All the damage was done through the major scores, with the Vikes missing two conversions and the Wanderers missing a conversion and penalty kick.
The Vikes stretched their lead to ten just three minutes after the break after Reed barged his way into the try zone. Du Toit tagged the first conversion of the game, making it 17-5.
The Wanderers followed up with a kick of their own two minutes later on a penalty kick, reducing the Vikes lead to 17-8.
After a Campbell try and du Toit conversion made it 24-8 for the Vikes, the Wanderers stormed right back with a try and conversion of their own to reduce the deficit to nine at 24-15 with ten minutes left in the match.
But Vikes’ third year Erlic would put the Wanderers back on the ropes with a try into the back left corner of the end zone. The Vikes led 29-15 with five minutes to go.
A try minutes two minutes later in the 77th minute reduced the lead back to nine at 29-20, but it was a close as the Wanderers would get before the Vikes ran out the clock to win their eighth game in a row.
With the Vikes already in the Barnard Cup Final on Dec. 5 at 2:30 p.m., The Wanderers and James Bay will play against each other in their final two games of the season to determine who will meet the Vikes. A rainout earlier in the season sets the stage for a finale to the Barnard Cup regular season.
The Vikes wrap up their season against Westshore RFC on Nov. 21at Wallace Field. Kick-off time is 2:30 p.m.
1 2 F
UVIC: 10 19 29
CW: 5 15 20
Vikes Scoring Summary:
UVIC: J. Pitblado (1T), C. Stewart (1T), C. Reed (1T), L. Campbell (1T), J. Erlic (1T), G. du Toit (2C)