VICTORIA – Things got a lot tenser than they needed too, but in the end the University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team did enough to pull out a 52-41 victory over Capilano RFC on the grass at Wallace Field on April 7.
The win was the seventh in a row for a Vikes team that led 35-15 early in the second half before surrendering the lead thanks to four Capilano tries in a 15-minute span.
Trailing 41-35 after that scoring spurt from the visiting team, the Vikes were able to buckle down late and score three tries in the final 15 minutes of the game to come away with the victory.
“At the end of the day we deserved to win, credit to them for playing well but if you are scoring seven or eight tries a game, you have a pretty good chance of winning,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate.
In his final home game on Wallace Field fifth-year James Pitblado led the way offensively with two tries in the contest.
“It’s pretty nice to get two tries but I’m more happy that we were able to claw our way back and get a win,” said Pitblado. “We are playing really good rugby right now and I can’t say enough about the fight we showed to come back.”
A trio of rookies: Ethan Hager, Jack McCarthy and Jackson Matthews were the other try scorers with McCarthy and Matthews sparking the Vikes comeback with tries three minutes apart when their team needed them the most.
“It’s huge,” said Pitblado of the play of the youngsters. “We are a very young team and if you look at our record from the first semester, some of those games got away from us because of our lack of experience at this level.
“You can see now that these young guys have that experience now and we were able to pull ourselves back up.”
The victory secured the Vikes a spot in the playoffs one week before the end of the regular season. Their run of seven straight wins has given them a record of 10-9, good enough for fifth-place in the 11 team BC Premier League.
The regular season will come to an end next weekend when the Vikes stay on the Island to face the Castaway Wanderers in Oak Bay.
“We are peaking at the right time and I’m hoping we can rattle off four more wins here and lift the trophy at the end of it all,” said Pitblado.