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Volume 90, Issue 86

Friday, March 07, 1997



Canuck luck falls short in Ireland

©Geoff Robins/Gazette
AND I LOVE YOU, AND YOU, AND YOU, AND EVEN YOU TITO. The Western men's rugby squad went over to U2's hometown this reading week and came back smelling like soap.

By Brooke Delanghe
Gazette Staff

Pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, blue diamonds, green clovers and purple Canadians.

Last week, the Western Mustang rugby squad was touring Ireland, scrumming up a storm. The team stayed in Limerick, Ireland on an 11-day trip consisting of four tournament games. Although the team did not emerge victorious after every match, coach Gerry Slattery was tremendously pleased with its performance.

"This whole tour proved to hold many positive surprises, many coming from our youngest players," he said. "The discipline was fantastic from all the boys, both on and off the field. They put in a remarkable effort last week, showing well despite the gruelling nature of the trip."

Upon arrival on March 23, Western played every other day – salvaging a 14-5 win over the University of Limerick and a 12-12 tie against Belfast's Queen's University. The Mustangs lost to the University of College Cork (17-12) and the Richmond Rugby Club (18-12) to finish with record of 1-2-1.

This year's most valuable Mustang, Joel Palmer, was impressed with his team's performance.

"Considering we hadn't played in about four months and the other teams were at the prime of their season, we put in a surprising showing," Palmer said. "At first it was hard to get back into, but the tour was totally worth the while – it really unified the team."

"And, rugby-wise, it really opened our eyes to the high calibre teams that are out there."

First-year team member Chad Tranter was glad to have experienced something as new as the tour in his first season of play.

"It was great," Tranter said. "We played at a level we should be playing at in years to come. Our tour performance was a shining example of how successful we could be in the future."

As for areas the team could possibly improve upon, no one could really think of many.

"Of course every team has a few bugs to work out but I have faith in our ability to do so," Tranter said.

Palmer, entering his final year with the team, believes Western has improved since its last season of play.

"Dedication has improved since last year," Palmer said. "Gerry has done a great job of getting the players involved in the off-season. His enthusiasm has really boosted team morale and I think that the tour really helped to motivate us."

Along with a number of players, Slattery, a native of Limerick, is suffering from a cold as a result of the trip. However, the Mustang coach doesn't seem to mind suffering the consequences after having such a good week.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997