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Volume 91, Issue 10
Friday, September 12, 1997
Wheels fall off the Mac truck
OUT OF MY WAY FOLKS, IT'S A BOMB....The Western men's rugby team defused a dangerous situation, edging out McMaster 15-10.
By Darryl Rose
Discipline was the name of the game for the Western men's rugby squad who persevered over the visiting McMaster Marauders, 15-10 on Wednesday. Of course, considering the team's recent exhibition matches against the U.S. Navy, Western's late defensive tenacity was not surprising.
"Our trip to play Navy really helped us learn how to dig deep and maintain our composure when we needed it," Mustang head coach Gerry Slattery said, with his ear bandaged due to a self-inflicted wound brought on by a nervous lobe-tugging habit. "Late tackling won the game for us."
Discipline was a theme that team captain Rob Werstine also chose to emphasize.
"For a young team in the first week, we really kept our composure," he said. "We had so many clutch tackles in the last 10 minutes. We let up there and we lose the game."
McMaster made a spirited upset bid in the waning minutes of the match with a flurry of activity around the Western goal line, but the Mustangs defended their territory with aplomb.
The late Marauder threat was similar to the hosts' own performance in the first half when they held a wide territorial advantage but failed to put McMaster away.
After two missed penalty kicks, Clark Larmon and Jesse Hankenhaff scored tries late to give Western a 12-3 halftime edge.
"We knew it would be tough since they are such a big team," Slattery said. "But I was definitely concerned that we couldn't put some more points on the board."
The visitors drew to within two points early in the second half with their first try. Simon Rodgers added a penalty kick for the victors to complete the scoring.
"We just made too many mistakes," McMaster head coach and Western alumnus Gary Turnbull said. "We need to take advantage of our size more and limit our mistakes."
According to Mustang veteran Ed Gardner, the team was able to counteract the Marauders' size with a combination of strategy and endurance.
"We were definitely the smaller team but we tried to move the ball a lot laterally and get them spread out," Gardner said. "Another thing that helped us was our team fitness. That's what Slats [Slattery] has been emphasizing and it really paid off today.
"The way we held them back late was because of our conditioning."
The third-ranked Mustangs continue their season on Saturday with a home tilt against the Guelph Gryphons.
"I think we'll definitely improve," Gardner commented. "This was our first game and we got the points that's the bottom line. This was our first time playing together, so we'll be improving as the season goes on. We could have done better, but we'll take it. "
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