By Braedan Willis, Vikes Communications
The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team finished off the first half of their season in fine fashion by defeating the Nanaimo Hornets by a score of 50-32 at Wallace Field in Victoria on Dec. 1.
The Vikes jumped out to an early 5-0 lead just three minutes into the game when fifth-year winger Kapi Vataiki rumbled down the sideline for games opening score. From there, the Vikes never trailed in the match.
Despite never having the lead, the Hornets displayed their ability to keep possession of the ball and be patient in their decision-making throughout the match.
“They are a good side, you can see why they have started to pick up some wins lately,” commented Vikes head coach Doug Tate. “They were physical with us today and were complimented by some hard runners throughout their line up. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made some noise and began to climb up the standings in the second half.”
After a successful penalty goal for the Hornets in fifth minute, Nanaimo strung together several phases and marched the ball down the pitch but a penalty for not releasing turned the ball back over to the Vikes.
In the eighth minute, the ball was swung out wide to flanker Ollie Nott and a pop pass back to his inside sent Vataiki in for his second try of the game, increasing Victoria’s lead to 12-3. Brennig Prevost further improved the Vikes lead in the 11thminute after busting through the Hornet defensive line and scampering 65-metres down field for the try.
Nanaimo scored back-to-back tries in the 17thand 22ndminute of the game to cut the Vikes lead. The Hornets pulled to within four points but Logan Martin-Feek and James O’Neill each touched down a try before the first half was over to give the home side a 31-20 lead at half time.
Early in the second frame Victoria scrum half Crosby Stewart found space on a broken play around midfield and used his speed to score in the 44thminute. Ethan Hager and Gradyn Bowd both got over the line for the Vikes in the second half to round out the scoring. The visitors added two more tries of their own to earn the bonus point but the final score read 50-32 for Victoria.
The Vikes will now enjoy a break over the holidays before they face the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver on Jan. 12 in the second leg of the Legends Cup.
1st 2nd F
VIC: 31 19 50
NAN: 20 12 32