VICTORIA (from UVic Vikes) — Twenty-eight points during a hectic seven-minute span in the second half led the UVic Vikes men’s rugby team to a 52-24 victory over the Nanaimo Hornets at Wallace Field on Feb. 3.
Trailing 19-17 entering the 53rd minute of play, the Vikes put on an exhibition of fast, attacking rugby over the next seven minutes to not only retake the lead, but to also put the game out of reach.
James O’Neill crossed the try line after sustained Vikes pressure to begin their point scoring run in the 54th minute.
Just four minutes later Cathal Long ran through multiple Nanaimo defenders before offloading the ball to Ethan Hager, who carried the ball the rest of the way with ease.
Oliver Nott went to work after that, scoring back-to-back tries on great individual efforts in the 60th and 61st minutes of play to make the score Vikes 45, Hornets 19.
“That was a good recovery for us, the guys just did the job and came back and that 28 point swing was a back-breaker for Nanaimo,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate. “They’ve been letting a lot of points in during the second half of games, and that’s what hurt them today.”
O’Neill and Nott led the Vikes attack on the day, scoring three and two tries respectively.
“Ollie is playing very well and showing a lot in attacking,” said Tate. “James O’Neill was by far the best player on the field today. The amount of work he is doing is great, grinding on the ground to win balls, and then scoring three tries is huge. He is a very talented player.
Hager, Macbryan Bos and James Pitblado each added one try apiece, while Aaron Hersant knocked through six converts in the game.
The win vaults the Vikes up to eighth-place in the B.C. Premier League where their record of 4-9 has them just seven points out of the playoffs with seven games left to play.
Nanaimo’s record of 2-12 has them firmly rooted at the bottom of the Premier League standings, but Tate was quick to point out how well the Hornets are currently playing.
“Credit to Nanaimo, they have a pretty good team, and I like the way they are playing,” said Tate. “They play attacking rugby and are playing better than a lot of other teams in the league right now.”