The Gaels were officially eliminated from the 2023 Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship this past Wednesday, Nov. 15, when they fell to the Victoria Vikes by a score of 40-19.
Queen’s had a mediocre start to their season, with an even split between wins and losses in their first four games. Although their losses were to divisional rivals, the Guelph Gryphons and Brock Badgers, the adversity the team faced laid the foundation for their dominant playoff run.
Closing out the season with a 31-26 win over the Western Mustangs, and a dominant 97-6 victory over the McMaster Marauders, the Gaels went into the playoffs with momentum, totaling a final point differential of +133, scoring 250 points and giving up 117, throughout the regular season.
Defeating the Trent Excalibur 57-21, the Gaels advanced to the OUA semi-finals where they took down the Brock Badgers in a close but controlled 28-10 victory that avenged their 22-19-point loss to the Badgers earlier in the season.
When they advanced to the OUA finals, the Gaels fell short when they lost to the Guelph Gryphons 38-22, which was merely a slight improvement upon the 34-17 game from earlier in the season.
While it would’ve been nice to see the Gaels secure OUA gold, second place is nonetheless an achievement. After improving upon their shortcomings in the regular season and beating the Brock Badgers in the semi-finals, I’d say the Gaels’ season was a success, and they gave us much to look forward to in the future.
On top of that, OUA finalists earn themselves a spot to compete at the National Championships in Langley, BC. The Gaels travelled to BC this past week to compete against the best teams from across the nation.
Facing off against the number-two-ranked Victoria Vikes, the Gaels lost by the largest margin of their season with the final tally being 40-19.
Although the Men’s Rugby team couldn’t bring home any hardware, they gave us lots to be grateful for, and even more to look forward to for the future of Queen’s rugby.
Younger players on the team, like Marcus D’Acre, ArtSci ’26, showed immense promise. D’Acre was among the Gaels most reliable centres throughout the season, convincingly establishing himself as one of the team’s youngest talents.
Jacob Merkur, ArtSci ’25, also had a breakout season, making his first start against the Guelph Gryphons on Sept. 30. He maintained his position as a reliable fly half through the remainder of the season.
Team captain Eric Godden, Sci ’24, will play his last game in the tricolour this Friday, wrapping up an impressive season, both individually and cooperatively, alongside his Gaels. Godden’s graduation will leave a deep hole in both the Men’s Rugby team’s physicality and consciousness that will be difficult to replace.
In terms of the rest of the National Championships, I expect the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds to continue along their dominant season and take home the national championship. This would require them to beat the Gaels divisional rivals, the Guelph Gryphons. You can watch the game on Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m., available on therugbynetwork.com.
A previous version of this story mistakenly associated the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship with U SPORTS.
The Journal regrets the error
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