Volume 94, Issue 20
Wednesday, October 4, 2000
Ruggers carry on age-old rivalry in draw with Queens
By Jessica Leeder
There's something to be said for hard work and dedication.
The mens' rugby team came out of a weekend match against the Queens Golden Gaels with a 12-12 draw this past Sunday. Even though there was not a victory on the scoreboard, head coach Gerry Slattery called it a victory of sorts.
"We do have certain goals and it would have been nice to have beaten Queens on their home field. We played strong I think you could say it was a moral victory. It showed us that you need passion and heart as well as skill to win a game.
"There has been a rivalry between Western and Queens for the last 10 years with Western dominating the matches from about 1996 on. The games have always been tight and close," Slattery said.
"Our goal was to use the match against Queens, to get motivated and work on our defence and cohesion. When we got behind we just kept our heads in it and tried to come back.
"Playing in Kingston, you are always mentally five to 10 points behind before you even start the game," said Slattery. "It is such a tough place to play."
Western started the game by putting their coach's prediction to practice, falling behind 9-0 at the half. The Mustangs came back in the second half with a vengeance and led the game by a three-point margin, 12-9, until Queens tied it up on a penalty kick in the last 10 minutes of the game.
Team captain Aaron Abrams said the Mustangs got off to a poor start in the game before they made their comeback in the second half. "It's hard to go out and play at Queens, but we really came back strong in the second half.
"Overall the weekend was good for team cohesion. Cohesion was a lot stronger after the game and that should really propel us into the second half of the season."
Queen's assistant coach Herb Steacy said he was happy with his team's play.
"The game went as expected there's never a dull day when Western plays Queens. It was a tough battle with a fair result. Both teams are fairly evenly matched, which could make for an interesting end of the season."
The Mustangs have played their last four games on the road, which makes their tie against the second place Golden Gaels more acceptable. The team won two of those contests while tieing the other two. Slattery noted not having registered a loss, due to the gruelling road swing, is an impressive accomplishment for his team.
"We have played three games in eight days and it's taking a toll we've had more mid-week games than last year and a lot of road games grouped together."
Slattery noted that having a lot of road games in a short span at the beginning of the season, has created other problems for his team aside from the physical drain.
"We have issues with team cohesion because of all our travelling and the new people on the team. It has been difficult to do some of the team activities we have done together in the past."
This season, men's rugby was not divided into the two customary conferences made up of weaker and stronger squads. Rather all the teams are grouped in one large division. This means more games for every team within the usual regular season time, which in turn exposes each team to more wear and tear.
Western's more prevalent aches and pains could be due to some of the overly aggressive play they exhibited this weekend, according to Steacy.
"There was a lot of less than professional conduct on the field that was the cause of some serious injuries for several of our players. Western's play is normally very physcial but professional, not like the thugs they played like this weekend."
But Abrams said the way the Mustangs played over the weekend was something the team looks to repeat.
"It gets pretty intense out there, its a pretty physical game. It is the most intense rivalry in the OUA and us going out physical like that just sets the tone for the rest of the season."
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