Volume 93, Issue 45
Thursday, November 18, 1999
Six rugby players shine bright in the OUA sky
REACH FOR THE BALL? I THOUGHT YOU SAID REACH FOR THE STARS. Western's men's rugby team added six members to the OUA all-star team.
By Chad Thompson
Six members of the Western Mustang men's rugby team shone so bright this season, they were named to the Ontario University Athletic all-stars team.
Fly-half Simon Rodgers, rookie centre Matt King, wing Jesse Henkenhaf, lock Peter Crocker, flanker Aaron Abrams and hooker Mark Cosgrove all made the cut as OUA all-stars.
Western head coach Gerry Slattery said it felt good to hear six of his players made the all-star team. "It's all just rewards for the time they put into the program. It [also] displays the talent on the team."
In his rookie year, King said it was a great honour to be named an all-star. "I think it's close to my best accomplishment in rugby. I'm glad to make my mark and establish myself in Ontario rugby."
King added the number of all-stars on the team shows why the Mustangs were able to win the OUA championship. "I think we had the most [all-stars] in the province. It shows the strength and depth of our team."
Rodgers, who is in his final year at Western, said he too was happy with the nomination, but felt the team had a greater accomplishment this year. "It's a great honour, but it's disappointing that more guys couldn't [be named all-stars]," he said. "But more important for me was going 9-0 in the season and winning the OUA finals."
A team is only as good as their coaching and Rodgers said both the all-star nominations and the team's success should be recognized as such. "I attribute it to our coaching staff, in particular Gerry Slattery and the time and passion he puts into the program."
When asked about his best memory at Western, Rodgers was able to give a quick answer. "Definitely the main highlight of my career was the OUA championship."
Peter Crocker said he felt the nomination was a great thing, but like his teammate, pointed to the OUA championship as the true capper to the season. Crocker added there were two factors which aided in the six Mustangs being named to the team. "A lot of it's raw talent, but Gerry Slattery brought us all together and had us focus."
To succeed during the season takes a lot of work off the field. Cosgrove said off-season training was one of the reasons for his accomplishments. "It proves the training I did during the summer paid off," he said. "It shows to the other guys hard work can pay off."
Slattery said the nomination to the all-star team was particularly important for Cosgrove, Rodgers, Henkenhaf and Crocker who are all in their last year at Western. "It is great for our experienced players who have been here for our tours and then to have two OUA championships and [finished] it off with an OUA all-star status."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999