Home Canada West Thunderbirds hand Vikes a heartbreaking 22-20 last-second loss

Thunderbirds hand Vikes a heartbreaking 22-20 last-second loss

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The Thunderbirds captured both ends of the Wightman Boot, the annual two-match series between UBC and UVic with their victory
The Thunderbirds captured both ends of the Wightman Boot, the annual two-match series between UBC and UVic with their victory (UVic Vikes photo)

VANCOUVER, B.C. (from UVic Vikes) – The two best teams in Canadian university men’s rugby went head-to-head and for 79 minutes the UVic Vikes were in control of the game against the BC Premier League leading UBC T-Birds. Unfortunately for the Vikes, that all changed in the final minute of play.

On the last possession of the contest, the T-Birds – aided by three penalties – marched down the field before Nick Allen finally broke through to tie the match at 20-20.

Standing close to the left sideline, Theo Sauder coolly knocked the convert through the uprights for the game-winning points, as the final whistle sounded immediately afterwards.

“A disappointing result today but when we begin to convert all of our chances these games will go our way,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate.

Gradyn Bowd scored 15 points for the Vikes on a try, two converts and a pair of penalties. James O’Neill got the other try for the visitors.

Victoria dominated the first half and jumped out to a 14-0 lead, in what assistant coach Rick Crawley called the Vikes best half of rugby all season long.

O’Neill started the scoring with a try after some furious forward drives at the UBC try line.

Bowd then doubled the Vikes lead just five minutes before halftime when he used a beautiful inside side-step to beat three defenders, and score under the posts.

Both teams traded penalties early in the second half before the T-Birds comeback effort began.

UBC cut the lead to 20-10 on a Theo Sauder try before T-Bird John Jubenvill got on to the end of a Sauder kick beyond the try line to close the gap to 20-15. That Jubenvill try led to the dramatic finish in what was another instant classic game between the two-longstanding rivals.

With the victory, UBC claimed both ends of the annual two-match series for the Wightman Boot, named after the former coach of the Thunderbirds. The T-Birds triumphed 44-24 in the first leg in September at Wallace Field.

The Vikes fall to 3-9 in Premier League action with the loss at the Gerald McGavin Rugby Centre and are next in action next Saturday at Wallace Field against the Nanaimo Hornets. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

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