September 17, 2016 James Bay , BC – The UVic Vikes men’s rugby team lost the first game of their Island Elite season Saturday afternoon, falling to James Bay by a score of 36-26.
Guiseppe du Toit, James Pitblado, Joseph Erlic, and Casey Reed all scored tries for the Vikes while Fergus Hall added three converts.
“We played well, had our fair share of chances but at the end of the day we made a couple of unforced errors,” said Doug Tate, head coach of the Vikes.
The Vikes came out strong in the contest, storming out to a 26-17 lead at the half over a James Bay squad that has won a record 24 provincial championships in their storied history.
Things changed in the second half however, when James Bay was able to take advantage of their long stretches of possession to score 19 points while holding the Vikes off the scoreboard entirely.
“It was a tough game. We were leading at the half and then we were against the wind in the second half. James Bay had a lot of possession and we were on defence for a long time,” said Tate.
The game kicked off the season for the Vikes, a team that is looking to win their third straight Barnard Cup and become one of three Vancouver Island teams that will qualify for the B.C. Premier Division.
“It was only the first game. We played well defensively at times, but James Bay has quite a few national team guys in their line up. It was a good first test,” said Tate.
Tate was pleased with the play of his backline on the day, as the Vikes were able to look dangerous in attack and score some well-worked tries.
Next up for the Vikes will be a match against the Westshore Valhallians, a team that they beat all three times they faced them last season.
“We got some guys that are going to be back next week. We will only get stronger. The guys have only been together for ten days so we’ve only had about four practices. Next Friday the extra time together will make a difference,” said Tate.