VICTORIA, B.C. – This weekend will see two of Vancouver Island’s biggest rugby powerhouses, the University of Victoria Vikes and James Bay Athletic Association, play in a key Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League match-up.
After a split home and away series against Oak Bay side the Castaway Wanderers, the Vikes are heading into the weekend with 16 points and fourth place in the CDI Premier league standings. The UVic men are just four points back from third-place James Bay and with the win, would find themselves even with their Island competition.
Again without international sevens standouts Sean Duke (Vancouver, BC), Nathan Hirayama (Richmond, BC) and Phil Mack (Victoria, BC) as they are currently in the UK preparing for the second round of the IRB World Series to take place in the United Arab Emirates, the Vikes will be looking to the likes of younger players Patrick Kay (Duncan, B.C.), Kane Wyatt (Shawnigan Lake, B.C.) and Chase Kelliher (Paget, BM) to take on bigger roles. Kay and Kelliher boast international experience of their own as they are both former members of Canada’s U20 squad. In addition, veterans Remi Anctil (Vancouver, BC), Jamie MacKenzie (Oakville, ON), Liam Murray (North Vancouver, BC) and Beau Parker (Vancouver, BC) will contribute some experience to the Vikes line up. Captain Tony LaCarte (Surrey, BC) remains out with a neck injury and hopes to return to action in the new year.
The James Bay roster currently boasts the league’s top scorer, Dan Kilpatrick. In four games the former Vikes men’s soccer goalkeeper has notched two tries, six penalty kicks and six conversions for the James Bay side and will certainly be a player to contend with for the UVic men. Another significant threat will be Clayton Meeres, a speedy winger coming off of a successful Americas Rugby Championship showing last month.
“We can’t really rely on those guys that are gone, they’re going to be away a lot this year,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate. “It really gives some of the younger players a chance. We’re pretty healthy right now, which is a positive thing. A lot of other teams are facing injuries so we’re lucky. With guys that can kick, like Kilpatrick, not giving up any penalties will be key.”
The University of Victoria Vikes take on James Bay Athletic Association this Saturday, Nov. 24, at 2:30 p.m. on Wallace Field.