To kill a Golden Hawk
By John Giusti
The Western men's rugby team squared off against Laurier this weekend, trampling the hometown Golden Hawks 69-3.
From the outset, the Mustangs kept the pressure on the overmatched Golden Hawks, scoring at will from start to finish.
"We didn't want to hold back and we wanted to keep the intensity level high at all times," Western head coach Gerry Slattery said. "It's never a good idea to turn your intensity off and on during the season, so we never quit."
The Mustangs found themselves up 31-0 after the first half, but many of those points had come off of Laurier miscues. In the second half however, Western came out even stronger and dominated play straight through to the finish.
"We drove home a lot of points in the second half," Mustang forward Adam Murphy said. "We have been coached to never let up regardless of the situation on the field."
Saturday's game also marked the return of Nick Hogg, in his sixth season with the team. The fourth-year dentistry student and three-time provincial all-star, came back last week after the recent five-year eligibility clause was waived by the Ontario University Athletics.
The win was added to the Mustangs' perfect 4-0 record and allowed them to take sole possession of the top spot in the provincial standings. It also sets up what should be a terrific match-up against three-time defending provincial champion Queen's (3-1), who are looking to rebound from last weekend's surprising loss to McMaster.
"We're really looking forward to it," Mustang Ed Gardner, who scored two trys and converted on several kicks in Saturday's match said. "They beat us last year in the semis, so we've been waiting since last year for this game."
The rosters for the homecoming game against Queen's will not be set until Wednesday and Slattery said no spot is guaranteed for anyone.
"The team is very competitive amongst each other," he explained. "It really brings out the best in your players when they are looking over their shoulders to see who's coming up behind them."
Slattery also said he wants to ignore the Queen's loss on the weekend and wants his players to concentrate on playing their game. He has confidence the veterans on the team will help keep every one focused on the task ahead, since the game is sure to be the Mustangs' toughest challenge thusfar and could decide home field advantage come play-off time.
The game kicks off on the rugby pitch across from J.W. Little Stadium on Saturday at noon.