Sean Duke

Sean Duke

Bays, Vikes meet for seventh straight Barnard Cup rugby final

The James Bay Athletic Association rugby team is trotting out a new generation of players

The James Bay Athletic Association and UVic Vikes meet for the seventh straight time in the Barnard Cup, premiere men’s Island rugby championship.

Traditionally an old versus young match-up, the Bays are trotting out a new generation of players against the forever-young Vikes.

Kick-off is at 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 29) under the lights of Centennial Stadium.

Ownership of the Barnard Cup has generally belonged to James Bay as they’ve won it 56 times. The Vikes have won it 10 times since 1963 and twice before that as Victoria College, in 1948 and 1949. The Vikes last won it in 2008 on a late try by Rugby Canada sevens specialist Sean Duke.

Bays coach Peter Rushton has guided his men to five of the six Barnard victories over the Vikes dating back to 2007. But the ever-changing format of the Vancouver Island Rugby Union Barnard Cup schedule has changed how the Barnard Cup is seen in some players eyes.

Until a few years ago Island’s premier men’s teams the Velox Valhallians, Castaway Wanderers, Cowichan and James Bay played a fall schedule for the right to compete for the Barnard Cup. Now that the CDI Premier league starts in the fall and overlaps the VIRU Barnard Cup schedule, the priorities change.

“It takes on a bit of a different meaning but you’ve still got a local match-up and there’s a good rivalry there between (JBAA) and UVic or CW, or CW and UVic. So the Barnard Cup is meaningful in that sense,” Rushton said.

“I’m not sure the players are all that in tune with the Barnard Cup. The format has changed, it’s not what it was three or four years ago when we only played Velox, CW and Cowichan. It was some good rugby.”

The face of James Bay has changed significantly this year though Spencer Dalziel remains the captain at No. 9. The ageless Williams brothers are all but finished as premier players. Morgan, now a Victoria firefighter, is soon to have ACL surgery while Jeff, an instructor at Shawnigan Lake School, has taken on a coaching and advising role with the Bays and is coaching with Rugby Canada’s age grade programs. Jeff has dressed this season and may well be on the bench for Friday but is only used as necessary, Rushton said.

“We’re going with the young guys, which Jeff has helped bring in.”

The Bays have recruited lots of talent from the Shawnigan Lake Stags, including No. 10 Connor McCann, from Rugby Canada’s under-20 Junior World Rugby Trophy team, as well as winger Braden Simmonds and fullback Lucien Nel. All will start for the Bays on Friday.

Bays’ second rower Josh Larsen is also one to watch as the New Zealander is here with a Canadian passport with an eye on getting noticed by the national program.

Proceeds from the Barnard Cup admission will be donated to the Judah Campbell Fund. The 24-year-old Kelowna Crows (Okanagan) rugby player suffered an impact that broke the C-4 and C-5 vertebrae of his neck in an October game. Campbell recently completed his undergraduate degree from UBC Okanagan and was intending on applying to medical school. To make a donation online visit: http://donate.rugbycanada.ca/e/judahcampbell

Vikes line up to come: (Hopefully)

James Bay Athletic Association starting roster for 2013 Barnard Cup (Subject to change)1. Noah Barker2. Stirling Bidalin3. Cole Racine4. Jim de Goede5. Josh Larsen6. Nate Waldman7. Rain Slavica8. Nolan Miles9. Spencer Dalziel10. Connor McCann 11. Braden Simmonds (Shawnigan)12. Vince Herlaar13. Jordan Wilson-Ross14. Eliott Peacock15. Lucien Nel (Shawnigan)

Recent Barnard Cup results 2012: UVic [27-54] James Bay2011: UVic [13-22] James Bay2010: UVic [37-44] James Bay2009: UVic [23-27] James Bay2008: UVic [23-18] James Bay2007: UVic [20-34] James Bay2006: UVic [25-23] Castaway Wanderers

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