Volume 93, Issue x
Wednesday, March 18, 1999
Western ruggers kick Guelph's tail
© Chris Chaconas/Gazette
I WONDER WHY FOOTBALL PLAYERS CHANGED THEIR HELMETS FROM THIS CLOTH MATERIAL. The men's rugby team showed Guelph their fashion sense by displaying their snappy looking helmets.
By Sean Maraj and Wes Brown
Guelph came, Guelph saw and then the Guelph coach was asked to get off university property. This was just one highlight from the Western men's rugby team's 38-5 victory over the Guelph Gryphons Saturday.
The Mustangs came out running, eager to beat last year's Ontario University Athletics champions and they did not fail in their task. By the end of the first half, the Mustangs were ahead 10-0 and were well on their way to victory. Although the Gryphons played a strong second half, they could not overcome the Mustang lead.
"Despite the first half score, the game was relatively even. Guelph's handling errors stopped any chances they had to score in the early goings," said Jim Atkinson, co-ordinator of the men's rugby program at Guelph.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs kept coming and didn't slow down in their march to their victory. Western Coach Gerry Slattery was happy with his team's performance. "They finally put an 80 minute performance on the field. They played close to their potential. I was quite pleased."
Team captain Aaron Abrams said he was also happy with how his team performed during the game. He pointed out this young Mustang team is quickly coming together an important factor in the team's future success.
"The key is working together, trying to gel. We gelled very well and if we can keep playing like we are, we should do pretty well for the rest of the season," he said.
Slattery was also happy with how his team was coming together especially on the field against Guelph. "During the week the intensity wasn't there. But on Saturday the whole team was tackling quite well. That created intensity which spreads like a cancer throughout the team."
But while the Mustangs were dominating on the field, Guelph coach Garry Whitley was getting into a heated argument on the sidelines with referee Dan Steele. The argument not only got Whitley ejected from the game, but actually thrown off university property.
"Coach Whitley made a few comments questioning the consistency of referee Steele's calls. It was a Western player and a Guelph player who actually started the fight to begin with," Atkinson said.
Despite the ejection of their head coach, Atkinson did not attribute the loss of the game to Whitley's forced removal. "Western built a large margin in the second half, making it impossible for Guelph to come back in the end," Atkinson said.
Whether Whitley will be further punished by suspension remain has yet to be determined.
Atkinson was quick to point out this was a huge victory for the Mustangs, who are vying to win the OUA championships this year. "If at the end of the year [the league final] comes down to points this was indeed a huge win for Western," he said.
As the Mustangs move on, Slattery was quick to break down what his team needs to improve on. "Offensively we were very good, defensively we need some work."
The Mustangs play in Waterloo at 1 p.m., Sept. 25.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999