Volume 93, Issue 21
Tuesday, October 5, 1999
Rugby men squeak by Queen's
HEY, I DON'T KNOW YOU THAT WELL. Western's men's rugby team show their mean game faces as they nudge by Queen's 15-14 on Saturday.
By Ryan Dixon
Drizzly conditions, hard physical play and tight scoring typified the men's rugby match between Queen's University and Western on Saturday.
Although the rain fell occasionally, it was the Golden Gaels who nearly drowned the Homecoming celebrations before Western came through with a 15-14 win.
Often it is said a game isn't as close as the score indicates, however, Western fly half Simon Rodgers pointed out this particular match was a battle from beginning to end. "Both teams played well, we did well on the break downs and tackles."
Queen's head coach Al Ferguson held a similar perspective. "It could have gone both ways and it came down to who got the breaks in the last five minutes," he said.
Ferguson's squad took leads away from Western twice on trys by inside centre Pete Kort in the first half and winger Steve Cummings in the second. Despite the loss, Ferguson took pride in his team's performance. "I am very delighted with the way my team played."
Rodgers had a huge role in the victory and the team needed every one of his five penalty kicks to squeak out the win. Western head coach Gerry Slattery said he expected nothing less from Rodgers. "Simon Rodgers is very aware of the whole field. He takes a lot of pressure off the forwards. He is a class player."
Rodgers, however, took a much more humble approach to his play. "I just try to do the same thing every week. My job is to make the kicks but if it wasn't for the great effort of the team to put me in position to make them, I wouldn't even get the chance."
Slattery said he liked the way his team persevered despite falling behind late in the game after a Queen's try and successful conversion put them ahead by two points. "We showed a lot of good character in gelling together and getting the right result," he said.
Although Western's passing was shaky, with several bobbled attempts early on, Slattery said he was not concerned and instead pointed to aspects away from the game as an area in need of upgrading.
"We need to work on the team concept off the field. On the field we have a great nucleus of talent, but we have got to work harder in practice, we have got to be focused and disciplined," he said.
For a team with aspirations of making it back to the Ontario University Athletics' finals, getting pushed this hard may come as a bit of a shock. Slattery acknowledged the fact that Queen's and Western matches are always close affairs and was not surprised at the end result.
"There has never been a wipe out between these two teams. Both clubs always rise to the occasion."
Slattery said he was also aware there may be a re-match in store somewhere down the road, perhaps in the playoffs where Western has knocked Queen's out of contention for the last two years. "There is a good chance we will see these boys again," he said.
If a re-match should occur, Rodgers and his teammates will have to take the same approach to that game as they did to this one.
"Everybody worked hard and played 100 per cent. We went hard all week to prepare and focus on this game."
The Mustangs will continue their undefeated season against Guelph Thursday at 7 p.m..
Copyright © The Gazette 1999