The UVic Vikes and James Bay Athletic Association rugby clubs have a long-standing rivalry with plenty of story lines. The teams meet in Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League play tomorrow (Oct. 26). It’s a preview of next month’s Barnard Cup Vancouver Island senior men’s rugby championship.
Kick-off is 2:45 p.m. at James Bay’s home of MacDonald Park.
The Vikes’ youth versus the age and experience of the Bays has long been at the heart of the clubs’ heated rivalry. For the past five years the Vikes’ core of national level players has boasted Nathan Hirayama, Sean Duke and Phil Mack in the half and back fields, with powerful forwards Andrew Tiedemann and Adam Kleeberger up front. But those three are no longer part of the Vikes. In their place is a new wave of Canadian nationals led by Pat Kay, who captained the under-20 national team this year, Giuseppe Du Toit, an 18-year-old South African import who started at fly half for Canada in the Americas Rugby Championship, and under-20 players Nathan Yanagiya and James Pitblado, as well as future U20 players Jeff Nishima-Miller and Hayden Evans.
“Du Toit is lights out as a kicker,” Vikes coach Doug Tate said. “He’s going backwards now after moving up from high school to the Vikes to the ARC. It’ll be easier dealing with the pressure now.”
The Bays are also stronger, as the defending provincial champs have Mack back from the Vikes after the national team scrum half and sevens star spent three seasons with the university. Mack was listed at scrum half for the Bays last week but is a proven winger, if needed.
The Bays (1-1) are coming off a 40-15 drubbing of the Castaway Wanderers (1-1) at Windsor Park last week, while the Vikes (2-0) won 34-23 over struggling Capilano (0-2).
CW is home to Burnaby Lake (2-0). In senior women’s play the UVic Vikes are home to Cowichan at Wallace Field and the Velox Valkyries are home to Nanaimo at Velox, both with an 11:30 a.m. start.