By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team had to battle their way to a 57-34 win over the Seattle Saracens in CDI Premier League play on Jan. 30 at Wallace Field. The Vikes improved their record to 1-1 while the Saracens begin their campaign with a loss at 0-1.
The Vikes fell behind early in the first few minutes of play and trailed at half time, but a strong pushback in the second half lifted the Vikes over their opponents from below the border.
“It was a tough grind,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate. “Their size really gave us a problem early in the game, but they suffered some injuries and we wore them out in the second half. Overall we had some good individual performances and strung together some really nice tries.”
An early try and penalty kick from the Saracens inside five minutes gave the visitors a 10-0 advantage. Two tries from first-year centre John Franklin and fourth-year wing Kapi Vataiki then quickly reversed the scoreline to 14-10 for the Vikes.
Third-year flanker Isaac Kaay extended the Vikes’ lead to 21-10, but the Saracens cut the lead to four with another try of their own.
After Kaay restored the Vikes’ advantage back to 11 at 28-17, the Saracens managed to take the lead before the break. Seattle restored the deficit to four then touched down on a forward set and converted their kick on the last play of the second half to take a 29-28 lead into the second half.
The Vikes came out firing in the second half with an early try thanks to fourth year Kevin Leask. Third year Macbryan Bos followed up his teammate with another to stretch the Vikes lead to 40-29.
After a lengthy injury delay, the Vikes ended the Saracens’ hopes of a comeback when fourth year Liam Chisholm and third year Fergus Hall increased the lead to 18. Third year Crosby Stewart ended an exceptional half for the Vikes with a try before the final whistle, finishing the game 57-34 for the Vikes.
Following solid performances on the pitch against Seattle, Vikes Bowd and Chisholm now join the 28-man Canadian men’s national team roster that will compete in the Americas Rugby Championships. Both could be out of action for the Vikes until March.
“We don’t know how long they could be gone but that’s just part of the system,” added Tate of his international players. “They’ve earned the opportunity to go there and it gives some other guys a chance to jump into the line-up and make an impact.”
The Vikes depart for ten days to Australia from Feb. 4-14 before returning to CDI Premier League action on Feb. 20 against the James Bay Athletic Association.
1 2 F
UVIC: 28 29 57
SEA: 29 5 34
UVIC: J. Franklin (1T), F. Hall (1T, 2C), K. Vaitaki (1T), I. Kaay (2T), G. Bowd (3C), K. Leask (1T), M. Bos (1T), L. Chisholm (1T, 1C ), C. Stewart (1T)
SEA: T.C. Elliot (2T), D. Trierweiler (1T), B. Landry (1T), R. Armstrong (1T), A. Nelson (3C, 1P)