Canada’s oldest athletic rivals hit Kingston Field on Saturday as the Royal Military College Paladins and the Queen’s Gaels were both looking to put a strong note on the end of their regular seasons. Although the game started on a bumpy note for the Gaels, they eventually regained the strong form they’d been playing with all season and capped off their undefeated season with a 92-20 victory.
The Gaels displayed their well-rounded offence with tries coming from wing Chris Barrett, loosehead prop Graham Watt, tighthead prop Matthew Cameron, lock Thomas Binczyk, number eight Xandre Nemetz-Sinchien, flyhalf Graeme Dibden, centre Kyle Freitag, centre Zach Pancer, fullback David Slattery, flanker Alistair Clark, flyhalf Scott Kyle and Dan Pletch. Ryan Kruyne converted 11 tries for 22 points.
Head coach Peter Huigenbos said it took on-the-field encouragement for the Gaels to turn their game around after falling behind after 10 minutes.
“RMC came out strong and were focused,” he said. “They took advantage of the mistakes we made, which sharpened our focus. A couple of the team leaders said ‘Boys, it’s time to focus,’ and we turned it around.”
Huigenbos said when the team regained their concentration, they played to their plan.
“We stuck to a fairly simple game plan,” he said. “The guys ran hard and attacked the blind side, but our defence and discipline was lacking at times.”
With the University of Toronto Varsity Blues being the hurdle the Gaels face in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, Huigenbos said the team will be working hard to maintain focus and work out the kinks in their game.
“All year you have to keep your focus. Success is determined by the process you take,” he said. “We have to go into next week tightening out defense and sharpening our execution. We can only play the team that’s in front of us so we’ll keep our focus going into next week so that we’re ready for the big challenge in the semifinal.”
The Gaels put many of their substitutes into starting positions for the game, and they didn’t disappoint. Captain Alistair Clark said that the substitutes earned their spot for the final regular-season matchup.
“There’s been a lot of guys working hard all year and we wanted to give them the opportunity to get in the game and impress,” he said. “The guys who were out there played really well.”
Clark has high hopes for the playoffs, building off the mistakes they made against RMC as they prepare for the Varsity Blues.
“At the beginning we were taking a lot of penalties. When we calm it down, stick to our strengths and get back to our gameplan, that’s when the tries start coming.”
The Gaels start their playoff campaign Saturday at Kingston Field against the University of Toronto. The game will start at 1 p.m.
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