The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team captured their second-straight Barnard Cup championship on the back of blistery conditions, strong offence and resilient defence on Saturday, Dec. 5 at Wallace Field, winning 24-5 over the Castaway Wanderers.
The victory caps off an undefeated Barnard Cup campaign for the Vikes, who finished 10-0 in Island competition.
Third-year Vikes fullback Fergus Hall notched three penalty kicks in the first half while third-year wing Crosby Stewart did the work on the ground, running in a trio of tries to help lift the Vikes to back-to-back championships. The Vikes defence was stellar all afternoon, allowing only one try late in the game after holding the Wanderers to 75 minutes of scoreless rugby.
“We really dug deep defensively today and it was our best defensive performance of the year,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate of his championship-winning team. “(Castaways) had a lot of the possession and they kept coming at us all game. They played smart, but I think we overturned enough balls to win us that game.”
The weather acted as a third party for both teams, giving each an advantage for a half with the winds at their back. Balls constantly changed direction in the air and allowed for the kicking game to play as an important factor.
As the Castaways pressed in the second half with the wind in their favour, the Vikes escaped down the sidelines with a nice run from third-year flanker Isaac Kaay. The Castaways added a try as time winded down through winger Anton Ngogo, but time would expire to give earn the Vikes back-to-back Barnard Cup championships.
The victory for the Vikes over the Castaways in the final is their second in consecutive years after winning 25-17 over the Castaways in 2014. Before that, the Vikes had lost five-straight finals to the James Bay Athletic Association.