September 24, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 15  

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Mustangs win battle of rivals

By Aron Yeomanson
Gazette Writer

Dave Picard/Gazette
WHY AM I ALWAYS THE ONE THAT GETS LIFTED? A player from Western's men's rugby team prepares to receive the dreaded atomic wedgie from his teammates.

The Western Mustangs men's rugby team improved their record to a perfect 2-0 on Saturday when they defeated the Queen's Golden Gaels 23-18.

"Any time you play a team like Western, it's a difficult game, Homecoming or not," said Gaels coach Herb Steacy. "It's a good rivalry between Western and us, but it's all in good spirits."

Continuing their long rivalry with Queen's, the Mustangs did not disappoint the rowdy Homecoming crowd. The heated match between the two teams was evidenced by animosity both on and off the playing field.

As the game progressed, emotions ran high and culminated in a near altercation between a Queen's player and a Mustang on the sidelines. The large crowd on hand intensified the situation, voicing strong support for the Mustangs.

Scott Stewart, head coach of the Mustangs, said his team came out prepared and ready to go. "We tried to avoid thinking about the crowds and pressure [of Homecoming]. Overall we are pleased with our performance and we are glad to have done it here at Western."

Western led the match 16-6 at the half on a drop goal by Rob Wolfenden and a try from Dean Van Camp, on which Andrew Dold made good on the conversion. Dold also added two more goals in the first half.

The second half featured less scoring and was characterized by the many scuffles which made the ongoing rivalry paramount in the eyes of the spectators. An early, superb try from Wolfenden, increased Western's lead to 23-6.

The two late scores by the Gaels were ultimately too little as the Mustangs hung on to earn an important win, but they were leery of the Gaels late in the game. "We were worried about Queen's after they scored - they are an experienced team who knows how to win games," Stewart said.

"Western had the opportunity early and took it. We had momentum during the second half, but it didn't come early enough for us to take the win," Steacy added.

After a solid performance, Dold commented on the rivalry and tradition between Western and Queen's. "Whenever we go to Kingston or they come here, especially for Homecoming, we expect an intense, hard 80 minutes."

The Mustangs performance over the first two weeks of the season should dispel earlier thoughts the team might have problems adapting to Stewart. "We are happy with ourselves. We've done lots of work and we'll build on that.

Stewart, who became the Mustangs head coach over the summer, is extremely well experienced in international rugby as he has been involved in the past three World Cups.

"We're really excited to have Scott," Dold said. "His experience and presence is something we've been missing the past couple of seasons."

Dold went on to say he feels the team has been playing well, but has yet to come close to reaching its capabilities. "Everyone knows we have the potential to win [the Ontario University Athletics championships] this year."

-with files from David Lee and Alison Stolz





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