Mac attack awaits Stewart
and the men's ruggers
By David Martin
GUESS THIS IS WHAT THEY MEANT BY “TAKE ONE FOR THE
TEAM.” A Queen’s rugby player tackles a Mustangs
winger from behind during Saturday’s Ontario University
Athletics semi-final at the Mustangs’ rugby pitch.
Dispersing of one old foe only leads to another for the Western
men's rugby team.
Saturday afternoon, the Mustangs eliminated the Queen's Golden
Gaels 23-7 to move onto the Ontario University Athletics finals.
Now comes a tougher test for the Mustangs from the team that defeated
them in last year's final - McMaster University.
For the past decade, Western and Queen's have been bitter rivals,
combining to win eight of the last 10 OUA titles. Saturday afternoon
in London, intensity and tempers rose once again in what was a much
closer game than the scoreboard indicated.
Queen's held a 7-3 lead for most of the first half, but after a
prolonged drive near the Queen's goal-line, Western's Dean Van Camp
was finally able to charge through the Golden Gael's wall to score
on the final play of the half.
Although Western took a 10-7 lead into half-time, head coach Scott
Stewart made a couple of adjustments in an attempt to put more pressure
on Queen's in the second half.
"We wanted to get the ball deep into their territory whenever
we had the chance and then force them to make quick decisions,"
Stewart said. "The speed of our backs was able to put pressure
on them, causing mistakes which we could take advantage of. It was
a bit of a risk, but we got the returns we wanted." Fourth-year
Western lock Jordan Martens cited another adjustment the team made
"We got an understanding that they were focusing on one of
our players, so we tried getting the ball to other people and through
unselfish play, we were able to find the open man a lot," Martens
Even with these changes, possibly the most important factor helping
Western to victory was their ability to remain calm in what was
quite a dirty game. Early in the second half, a Queen's player was
given a red-card (ejected), which drew no retaliation from Western?
Later on, a scuffle broke out after a Queen's player took an extended
run at a Western player, resulting in another red-card for Queen's
and only a yellow-card (10 minute penalty) for Western.
Queen's head coach Herb Steacy thought the composure of the two
teams was a major difference in the game.
"Western showed a discipline that we lacked at times. A couple
decisions we made hurt us as it's difficult to win games when you're
short players, especially against a good team like Western,"
Western forward Les Selby commented on the Mustangs ability to
stay calm throughout the game.
"We never let anything get us down and were always able to
bury the negatives each time they happened. We kept our composure
and waited until things went our way," Selby said.
Selby, who had two trys, combined with Andrew Dold (convert, drop-goal,
penalty-goal) to provide the rest of the Mustang's offense.
When asked to name his top performers of the game, Stewart listed
off six players, a number which demonstrates how much of a total
team effort it took to beat Queen's.
Up next for the Mustangs is McMaster, who they narrowly lost to
earlier in the year. Both Dold and Martens expressed the team's
confidence heading into the finals.
"The tables are turned from last year when we beat McMaster
in the regular season and lost to them in the finals. Although we
lost earlier this season, we know that we have what it takes to
beat them next week," Dold said. "We haven't played at
100 per cent yet this year, but after winning [Saturday], that higher
level is definitely within reach." Marten's also commented
on the team's progress.
"We're peaking at exactly the right time. We're just taken
a big step up from our last game and know we can improve slightly
for the next game. Plus we've got an advantage of just having played
a hard-fought game which will keep us sharp, whereas McMaster had
an easier opponent this week."