VICTORIA, B.C. – Under the lights of Centennial Stadium, the University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team were downed 20-15 by James Bay Athletic Association in the first round of Barnard Cup competition. In the 15th minute of the game, James Bay forced a maul across the tryline to post their first five points of the game and for the rest of the 65 minutes the Vikes were playing catch-up.
With tries from flanker Andrew de Goede, full back Brandon Harrison and no. 8 Nolan Miles, James Bay kept the Vikes on their heels for the entirety of the game as the UVic men were forced to try and close the gap.
“With James Bay you need to play for 80 minutes,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate. “The last 10 minutes of the game is the way that we should have played. It’s almost like when we were down, and we had our backs against the ball, we played better. There are still things that we need to work on.”
James Bay’s first try came after the strength of their forward pack forced a maul across UVic’s tryline with the ball put down by de Goede. Harrison made the conversion and the visitors were on the board with seven points. Several minutes later it seemed that another James Bay try was inevitable as Morgan Williams made a stealthy breakaway from the ruck and ran towards the posts. Just before reaching the line, Williams was brought down by MacKenzie and the Vikes regained possession before another turnover put the ball back into the hands of the visiting team.
The Vikes spent the better part of the second half deep in their defensive end as a series of scrums were held on the doorstep of the UVic tryline. A yellow card for Shea Wakefield (Victoria, BC) forced the UVic side to play down a man and it was only a matter of time before James Bay capitalized on their position deep in Vikes territory. After a series of scrums inches away from the tryline, Harrison scored minutes before the end of the first 40 to make it 12-7 for the visiting crosstown team.
In the beginning of the second half, Vike Patrick Kay (Duncan, B.C.) kicked through the posts to give the UVic men three more points, now within striking distance of the leading visiting side. However, after interceptions by Tony LaCarte (Surrey, BC) and MacKenzie, several runs by the Vikes were unsuccessful and 20 minutes into the second half James Bay once again had the Vikes at a deadlock on their tryline. James Bay posted another five points, this time by Miles, and after a successful penalty kick the Vikes were down by 10 points with five minutes left in play.
With just over a minute to go, the Vikes capitalized on a turnover and made a break for it, winger Keaton Styles carried the ball down the right wing and with a quick hand off to MacKenzie, the sprinting scrumhalf carried the ball across the line. The try was unconverted and time ran out on the Vikes as the game ended with a final score of 20-15 for James Bay.
Next up for the Vikes is a match against Bayside, Oct. 13, 2:45 p.m. in Surrey, B.C.