The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team scored 29 straight points in the second half of their game against Concordia University to claim bronze at the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship in front of a home crowd, Sunday.
“We made hard work of it,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate. “They [Concordia] struggled in the tournament last year and I thought they have really improved. All the credit to them. They played very physically. I thought they outplayed us in the first 40 minutes or so.”
In fact, the Vikes found themselves trailing 14-5 at the half and the Stingers pushed their margin to 21-5 with a converted try early in the second half.
But an untimely yellow card and injuries dulled the momentum of Stingers, as Vikes stormed back.
“Fitness kind of kicked in,” said Tate, who also saw his team’s second-half performance as a form of a redemption for their 15-8 semi-final loss against Queen’s University. “The guys were at home and kind of embarrassed a little bit. They played poorly against Queen’s on Thursday. That’s the main thing.”
Of the four straight tries that the Vikes scored during the second half, none was likely more exciting than the 65-yard-scoring run by Brenning Provost that gave UVic the lead at 24-21 lead.
“He hasn’t been playing for us for a while, because he has been injured,” said Tate of Provost, who was named the Vikes’ MVP along with Oliver Nott. “But he really made a difference in this game. He had some good breaks, cut them up pretty, and scored a beautiful try.”
With Sunday’s victory, the Vikes finished third after having finished second last year to the University of British Columbia.
While finishing on winning note, Tate said the team was disappointed about its performance in the semis against Queen’s in front of a home crowd with a chance to go to the gold medal game.
But he also added that this year’s team had five first-year players in suggesting that this team has not yet fulfilled its potential.
UBC and Queen’s are currently meeting in the final.