Coming off one of their biggest wins of the season, the University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team will be trying to extend their three game winning streak when they take on the Meraloma Rugby Club in Vancouver, B.C. on March 17.
Their current winning streak of three games is the longest of the Premier League season for the Vikes so far, and has moved them from near the bottom of the table all the way into the hunt for the playoffs. Currently sitting in the seventh-place, the Vikes are just five points behind James Bay for the sixth and final playoff spot.
A grouping of Capilano RFC, James Bay, the Vikes and Seattle are the four teams battling it out for the two remaining playoff positions. The Capilanos lead that group with 41 points, followed by James Bay with 39, UVic with 34 and Seattile with 33.
The Meralomas defeated the Vikes in Victoria back in the middle of October. The visitors from Vancouver scored two tries in the final five minutes of the game to steal a 31-26 and send the Vikes to what was then a 1-4 record.
The Vikes team that fell to Meralomas six months ago has looked completely different as of late, and in no game was that more evident than their 36-31 victory over the first-place UBC Old Boys Ravens two weeks ago.
“We are playing better as a team,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate on his teams’ turnaround. “Having Oliver Nott back is huge for our back row. Nott, Pitblado and Jackson Matthews played against a very strong back row from the Ravens two weeks ago and I thought we outplayed them.”
Meraloma meawhile, fell 32-12 to James Bay in their last Premier League action.
By the Numbers
4: The Vikes are one of the hottest teams in the Premier League right now, four of their six wins on the season have come in their last five games.
94: Despite the fact that the Lomas have played two more games than the Vikes, UVic has scored almost 100 points more than their opposition this weekend.
Doug Tate, Vikes head coach
“We have good depth with some guys returning from injuries and it is very competitive to get a spot on our team right now.”
“The Lomas are a well-coached team but they’ve had some ups and downs. It is their first year back in the Premier League and the schedule can be a grind. Our game in October was one of the games that got away from us, we had a good opportunity to win that game. Those are the games that if we had won, we would be playing for a better playoff spot rather than just trying to make it in.”
On the playoff push
“We are going to need a little help but I think on paper we have an easier schedule than some of the other teams. Every game you play is hard in this league though.”