Story Braeden Willis – Vikes / Images Erich Eichhorn / ISN
VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team four tries in the second half to come from behind to beat the Concordia Stingers to claim the bronze medal at 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 were down 21-5 at half time and thanks to Victoria fullback Brennig Prevost were able to get back in the game. Provost showed off his impressive footwork in the 51st minute, making a show past four Stingers defenders, while he raced 65-metres down the pitch to secure the comeback and score what proved to be the game-winning try.
“We stuck with it today,” stated Vikes head coach Doug Tate, whose team finished as silver medals in 2017. “It took until the second half for our players to step it up and show the talent we have. However, we were lucky to comeback after letting a team like Concordia get up on us.”
A yellow card taken in the 37th minute by Concordia captain Lucas Hotton seemed to give the Vikes the spark they needed to mount the comeback.
“UVic made us pay for every mistake we made in the second half today,” said Stingers head coach Craig Beemer. “We took a yellow card and that resulted in two tries and we started chasing the game from there.”
After a Victoria penalty put the ball in the hands of the Stingers, the Vikes stole the ball back in the lineout following the kick for touch and a few phases later Vikes centre Jonas Robinson hit flanker Ollie Nott with a pass on the wing and the fifth-year dove over the line for the games first score in the 10th minute.
The Stingers answered back in the 17th minute with a try of their own. With the ball in Concordia hands for a scrum just 5-metres out from the Vikes goal line, centre Charles Debove received a pass off the scrum and popped a pass back inside to a streaking Jonathan Banks for the try.
In the dying moments of the opening half, Victoria coughed up the ball inside their 22-metre line for Stingers centre Thomas Goetz. Goetz sliced through two Victoria defenders and jogged in for the try under the posts to give Concordia a 21-5 lead at half time.
Stingers flanker Michael Laplaine-Pereira increased the lead for Concordia to 21-5 over the Vikes early in the second half. Laplaine-Pereira found a gap for off the fringes off a ruck and evaded two tackles to get over the line.
In the 37th minute a yellow card was given to captain Lucas Hotton and it proved costly for the visitors. A momentum change was on the horizon while Hotton was in the sin bin and No.8 and Saskatchewan native Carson O’Sullivan powered his way over the line to pull the Vikes back within two scores.
Eight minutes later, former Canada under 20 captain James O’Neill pushed his way over the line, scoring in similar fashion to O’Sullivan. From his inside half, fullback Prevost had a couple of nice steps and dashed 65-metres for game-winning score. Nott added his second try of the game in the 59th minute and Bowd kicked a penalty goal to complete the 34-21 victory and salvage a bronze medal for the hosts Victoria.
Following the game forward Ollie Nott and Brennig Prevost were named the game MVPs for Victoria, while Julian Alexander and Charles Debove got the nod for Concordia.