World’s best collide at Queen’s

Four Arby’s patrons /American Eagles look on as John Thiel barrels over a tackler in Canada’s 19-10 victory at Richardson.
Four Arby’s patrons /American Eagles look on as John Thiel barrels over a tackler in Canada’s 19-10 victory at Richardson.

It was a Victoria Day Weekend homecoming for Canadian National Rugby team player Sean Fauth.

The former Queen’s student, and Gaels rugby player, started for the Canadians in their 19-10 victory over the U.S. at Richardson Stadium on Saturday, May 19, in front of 7,145 fans—a new attendance record for a Can-Am matchup.

Fauth, who took Commerce from 1993 - 1995 before transferring to the University of Victoria, almost made it an even more memorable afternoon by nearly clawing his way past the try-line on the final play of the game, before being stopped short by an American defender.

“That was a tough tackle,” said Fauth after the game. “He got me high around the collar... I almost got in there but he wasn’t letting me in with my shirt on.”

Interestingly enough, Fauth’s last game as a Gael took place at Richardson Stadium in the fall of 1994, where he won an OUA championship.

“It’s great to be back here,” added the 26-year-old winger, still trying to catch his breath.

The victory, which was earned by a display of stellar defense, sends the Canadians to the Pacific Rim Tournament in Japan in July as the representatives of North America.

After watching Argentina conquer Uruguay 32-27 in the opening match of the Pan American Rugby Association double-header, Canada took an early lead and never looked back.

Minutes into the showdown, fly half Scott Stewart put the Canucks on the board with a penalty goal. Backed by the boisterous holiday crowd, the Canadians stormed back down the field and threatened to permeate the American try-line. After countless Canadian forwards inched closer to the score, prop John Thiel barged past an American tackler and claimed the lone Canadian try of the day. Riding the foot of Stewart the rest of the afternoon, the early effort was all the Canadians would need.

After saluting the east grandstand with his teammates and receiving a standing ovation, Thiel lavished praise on Richardson Stadium as a rugby venue.

“The [east side] was behind us in full force,” said Thiel. “It’s nice to come out and get that kind of support.”

The last leg of the six-game Pan-Am tournament was held on Saturday in Markham at Fletcher’s Field, the premier rugby facility in Ontario. Nonetheless, a mere 2,400 fans showed up to watch Canada take on Argentina.

“No offense to Fletcher’s, but it’s not as nice as [Richardson Stadium],” said Theil.

Despite his team’s shortcomings on the pitch, U.S. coach Duncan Hall still found time to commend the event held in Kingston.

“This stadium is fantastic,” said Hall. “The hardest battle in North America is getting a crowd, and there’s definitely one here today.”

Canadian coach David Clark made a promise to the vocal fans.

“We’ll be back,” said Clark. “We got a great lift from this enthusiastic group.”

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