Gaels make Varsity blue

Men’s rugby routs University of Toronto in season opener at Kingston Field Saturday

Gaels’ loosehead prop Graham Watt (right) eyes his opponent from the University of Toronto in a scrum Saturday.
Gaels’ loosehead prop Graham Watt (right) eyes his opponent from the University of Toronto in a scrum Saturday.

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues men’s rugby team went all of last season without a single win, but the Gaels showed no sympathy for their situation, pounding them 86-3 in front of a rowdy and spirited crowd at Kingston Field on Saturday.

Within the first minute, Chris Barrett scored the Gaels’ first try, and the floodgates opened. The large crowd seemed to enjoy watching Queen’s run over the Varsity Blues. By the end of the first half, the Gaels had racked up eight tries for a score of 48-0.

The next 40 minutes started off on a better note for Toronto as they took advantage of one of Queen’s many second-half penalties to score three points on a penalty conversion. After that, six more Gaels’ tries completed the rout.

Barrett led the Gaels with four tries, and Tom Binczyk, Alexandre Nemetz-Sinchein, Mike Wong, Graeme Dibden, Michael Salisbury, Graeme Whyte and Andrew Kirk also added tries. At the same time, Ryan Kruyne added eight converts for 16 more points.

Men’s rugby head coach Peter Huigenbos said he was happy with his team for the most part.

“It was a good start to the season,” he said. “We moved the ball well offensively as per the game plan.”

Huigenbos said he was disappointed with the team’s lack of discipline, though.

“Unfortunately we took a lot of penalties,” he said. “Luckily against Toronto it didn’t hurt us that much but it will for the rest of the season if we don’t clean it up.”

Even though his team held a large lead at the half-time whistle, Huigenbos said it didn’t take much to motivate his players to keep going hard in the second half.

“If they want to keep playing for Queen’s, they play hard or they won’t play again,” Huigenbos said. “The 130 other players behind them [in the second, third and fourth teams] should be motivation enough to keep going.”

Binczyk, who scored two tries and forced six turnovers, said his success was a result of the team’s high spirits going into the game.

“You feed off the team,” he said. “It was our first home game in our new jerseys, everyone was pumped. I didn’t feel I did anything different, I just went out there and did my job.”

The second-row player said those same high spirits led to the penalties. He said the team’s goal was to take no more than three penalties per half. The Gaels doubled that in the first half and tripled it in the second.

“It’s a lot to do with excitement,” he said. “Guys want to make big plays and make big tackles. We’re trying to rush and we need to hold off and wait that extra half second. It’s really tough when you’re playing a team you can stick 80 points on because people start getting lazy.”

The Gaels will continue their hunt for OUA gold on September 20, when they travel to London, Ontario for a match with the University of Western Ontario Mustangs.

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