VICTORIA – In a rivalry that goes back fifty years, the UVic Vikes men’s rugby team will once again do battle with the UBC Thunderbirds, and to the winner goes the Boot.
The Wightman Boot trophy, awarded annually to the winner of the UVIC vs. UBC game will be handed out at the conclusion of the Vikes game that starts at 2:30 p.m., in Vancouver on January 21.
The Vikes lead the all-time series, having captured the Boot 27 times to UBC’s 17. It’s the T-Birds that come into the game with recent history on their side however, UBC has won the trophy for the past three years in a row.
“There is a lot of stake and both teams have lots of speed so the game will be played flat out,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate. “It’s going to be a very exhausting game and they have had a very strong team for the last few years so we are going to have to play well to beat them.”
This game is key for more than just the Wightman Boot and bragging rights, it also marks the beginning of the B.C. Premier League season, which will see UVic take on eight of the top teams in the Province.
Stretching from the upcoming weekend to the middle of April, the Premier League is comprised of the top Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland men’s club teams, as well as a team from Seattle.
“You just have to get ready every week because there are not going be very many easy games in this league,” said Tate.
Last Time Out
Due to a cancellation of their final Island Premier game, the Vikes were last in action all the way back on November 18. After a difficult opening half of the season the Vikes showed what they were capable of in that game, defeating the eventual Barnard Cup Champions from the James Bay Athletic Association by a score of 42-7.
UBC captured the Lower Mainland Premier League title for the second year in a row in the last game they played. After finishing second in the regular season with a record of 5-2, the T-Birds pulled off the 20-10 upset victory over previously undefeated Burnaby Lake.
By the Numbers
3: The number of tries Oliver Nott recorded in the Vikes last game.
13: From 1997-98 to 2009-10, the Vikes won the Wightman Boot 13 years in a row.
Doug Tate, Vikes head coach
“It’s a big tradition, but I don’t think there’s anything extra that goes into it.”
“A lot of these guys grew up together and probably played on teams or went to the same high schools together so it is different than a regular Premier League game.”
“We have a disruptive schedule this term with tough games we have to play this weekend and the following weekend. Then we lose our National Team players for most of February so the next few games will be tough without those guys.
“It’s going to be a baptism by fire for these guys.”
Saturday, Jan. 21 – 2:30 p.m. – @ UBC Thunderbirds, Vancouver, B.C.