VICTORIA, B.C. – After 42 years of men’s rugby competition between the University of Victoria Vikes and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, the Vikes are looking for their 16th consecutive “Wightman’s Boot” title. Usually a two-game series, last year’s competition was reduced to a single game due to scheduling conflicts and saw the Vikes blank the Thunderbirds 82-0.
Named after UBC coach Brian Wightman, and more commonly referred to as “the Boot,” the games are an annual match-up between UVic and UBC. Beginning in 1970, the competition originally featured a single game between the two universities but after 26 years moved to its current two-game series format.
The Vikes have captured the last 15 consecutive Boot titles and in total, have 38 wins and one tie in comparison to the Thunderbirds’ 17 wins and one tie. In the event of a tie, a win is awarded on the basis of points and during the 2007-08 competition the Thunderbirds came very close to bringing the Boot home when they split the series 1-1.
Coming off of a 30-24 win against Capilano RFC, the reigning Rounsefell Cup champions, the Vikes boast a strong line-up with veteran backs Tony LaCarte (Surrey, BC) and Remi Anctil (Vancouver, BC) and the return of international sevens player Phil Mack (Victoria, BC), who earned two tries in last week’s match-up. Additionally, with his tackling and work at the breakdown, Liam Murray (North Vancouver, BC) has put up several solid performances for the UVic men.
With the Vikes as the hosting team, kick-off for the first Boot game of the series is 2:45 p.m. on Sept. 29 at Wallace Field.