Vikings Victorious: Guernsey v Isle of Man Match Report
Rugby returning to Guernsey had seemed a long way off, but thanks to the ‘air bridge’ with the Isle of Man, both St Jacques Vikings and Guernsey Raiders recently got to take on two teams from Douglas RFC at Footes Lane.
For Ray Smart’s Vikings side it was an important opportunity to put into practice the good work they have been doing in pre-season training, which has seen around 50 players involved, including up to 12 new players.
Before the Raiders and Vikings had even kicked off against their IOM opponents, the Vikings held an in-house game with 32 players involved to ensure that every player available got the opportunity to play some rugby.
For the Vikings 1st XV, they found themselves up against a talented and similarly young side from Douglas.
The home side started with a strong squad, which included most of last season’s regular players, including Louvre’s Tom Creed, but also included a debut for new back-row specialist Toby Brook, and a returning scrum-half in Dale Rutledge, who has recently returned to the island.
The Vikings scored first on the day, but they found the Douglas defence to be solid and it took a piece of excellence to get them on the board. Chris Ahne on the wing was the one to produce that, as he gathered the ball almost in his own half and set off on a long run, beating several defenders to score an excellent try.
The Vikings extended their dominance in the first half with tries from captain Leon Gardner and Dale Rutledge, before Douglas pulled one back.
The second half was a closer affair, with the visitors frustrating the Vikings, before a nasty injury to a visiting player caused a lengthy delay in proceedings.
Once play resumed the Vikings pulled clear again with tries from Tom Rihoy and Reece de Jersey, and a second from Dale Rutledge as the Vikings ran out eventual 42-10 winners.
Louvre Associate Director Matthew Gilligan said: “We are so pleased the Vikings managed to compete with the Isle of Man. As a sponsor we are very proud of their achievements and look forward to next season and seeing them back in action.”
This was a good start from the Vikings, as they prepare for competitive rugby when it resumes following the COVID-19 outbreak.
You can find out more about the Vikings here: https://www.stjacquesrfc.co.uk/