Hometown Vikes blank New Brunswick for shot at bronze

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The University of Victoria Vikes will face the Concordia Stingers in the bronze-medal match of the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship presented by title sponsors, Victoria Mitsubishi and Carson Automotive Group, and corporate sponsors Pemberton Holmes Ltd. and the Canadian Rugby Foundation. The Vikes defeated the Atlantic champion, the New Brunswick Ironmen, by a big score of 69-0 on Nov. 23 at Centennial Stadium to wrap up pool play.

The Vikes were knocked out of contention for the gold medal after suffering a tight loss to the Queen’s Gaels yesterday by a score of 15-8 and needed a win today if they wanted a chance at bronze. The Gaels will match up with the UBC Thunderbirds in Sunday’s final, while Guelph and UNB will play for fifth.

“It was a good turnaround from the game yesterday,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate, also a co-founder of the revamped university championship. “We had 13 new starters today and they all made an impact out there for us. We will have a few things to think about now when we pick our lineup for the bronze medal match against Concordia.”

Victoria centre Jonas Robinson got the scoring started for the Vikes in the eighth minute of the match, touching down his first of tries in the match. Nicholas Carson, David Richard and Tom Heuser capped off the scoring for the hosts in the opening 30-minute half to give the Vikes a 24-0 lead at the break.

Victoria continued to pour on the offence in the second half racking up seven more tries with Ethan Hager and Mostyn Findlay connecting for a highlight-reel score. Hager, deep in his own territory, dashed through a gap formed off the side of the ruck and rumbled down inside the 5-metre line of the Ironmen before Findlay touched it down a few phases later for the try.

Robinson, Heuser, Hager, Richard and two from Jackson Matthews rounded out the scoring for the Vikes.

The fifth place game between New Brunswick and Guelph will kick off tomorrow, Nov. 24 at 2:00 p.m. at Wallace field. All other teams will enjoy a day off before the Vikes face the Stingers on Nov. 25at 11:00 a.m. for the bronze medal, while the UBC Thunderbirds clash with the OUA champion Queen’s Gaels for the gold medal at 1:00 p.m. Both medal games will be played at Centennial Stadium in Victoria.

“I am so pleased with how all our guys have adjusted to the speed of the competition out here,” said Ironmen head coach Andrew DuPlessis. “Fatigue really killed us late and we didn’t do a great job when we had a chance to relieve some pressure but I am happy with how we have improved from game-to-game. The scores lines maybe don’t tell that story so far but all three of the coaches have seen steady improvement in so many different aspects of our game.”

Vikes scrum half Jenner Tuefel was named player of the game for Victoria and lock Jacob Zelman received the honour for the Ironmen.

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