|Volume 93, Issue 39
Tuesday, November 9, 1999
Ruggers capture the OUA crown
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIENDS. Western proves they'll keep fighting to the end, as the men's rugby team celebrate their OUA championship win on the weekend.
By Sean Maraj
The road has been long for the Western men's rugby team. It has taken them to both South Africa and Annapolis, Maryland. Saturday, the road led them back home to clinch the Ontario University Athletics championship for the second time in three years.
Their travels were not always easy and Saturday proved to be no different. The team had to face its greatest rival before they could wear the gold medal Queen's University.
The game was hard-fought to the end. The plays went back and forth and included a resurgence by Queen's in the closing minutes which eventually pushed the game into overtime. After an excruciating period of extended play, in front of hundreds of fans, the Mustangs walked away with a razor thin 17-14 victory.
After the game, amidst the championship celebration, Western head coach Gerry Slattery was quick to commend his team and Queen's for a strong game.
"Fantastic, it's indescribable," Slattery said when asked how he felt after the victory. "It was quite an experience. All the credit to Queen's, they really pushed it to the end, but our teamwork really paid off. All our training came to the surface."
While celebrating the victory with his teammates, Mustang flanker and captain Aaron Abrams pointed to his team's gutsy play as a major factor in winning the close game.
"I'm just so proud to be part of the team, everything since South Africa led to this," Abrams said. "The intensity was just there and it came down to our purple hearts."
Queen's head coach Al Ferguson said his team should have done better in the final game of the season and against their closest competition. "We played OK, we didn't play as well as we could've, we played better during the season," he said.
Ferguson also commended his team in coming back and taking the game into overtime, adding the defeat was a result of not capitalizing on opportunities throughout the game. "We did a great job, still having the heart to come back with one minute left in the game, you make your chances and we didn't take them."
Abrams pointed out after the game that the team's victory did more than give them a championship, but also proved they can win under pressure.
"Better than we could have ever expected," Abrams said when asked how the season turned out. "We really proved ourselves today."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999