After a disappointing loss on Feb. 20 to rivals James Bay, the University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team looks to respond this weekend, Feb. 27, at Wallace Field against the Castaway Wanderers. The Vikes are 1-2 in CDI Premier League play this season while the Castaways are 0-3.
The Vikes were hindered by a slow start against James Bay in last weekend’s 33-21 loss, conceding too many early penalties and 21 points in the first 15 minutes of the match. The Vikes were forced to play catch-up in the second half, but ultimately fell short on the day as the damage had already been done early by the Bays.
“We played well enough to win, but James Bay played terrific defence,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate of his team’s defeat last weekend. “They were a much improved team than the last time we had played them after adding some key pieces to their lineup.”
The Vikes have not had the start they would’ve hoped for so far this season, losing two of their first three in CDI Premier League play in 2016 after going undefeated to their second consecutive Barnard Cup title in the fall. The same could be said for the Castaway Wanderers, the Barnard Cup runners up from 2015, who have dropped their first three match-ups to fall to the bottom of the CDI Premier League early in the season.
“We’ve made some tactical adjustments that will hopefully come into play this upcoming weekend,” added Tate. “It’s been almost a month since we’ve played at home, so it will be a welcomed return for the guys. We’re suffering from some injuries at the moment, but that’s every team in this league.”
Injuries will call first year Jack Nyren back to the Vikes’ first team with fullback Fergus Hall possibly missing extra time due to injury. Nyren did well in last weekend’s loss to James Bay, filling in for Hall in the kicking department with three conversions.
“Defensively, we just have to be better,” said Tate. “You can’t give up 35 points and expect to win like last week.”
Game time is set for 2:30 p.m. at Wallace Field.