Mustangs run over women’s rugby

Despite 32-0 loss, coach Barz says team’s defence has come a long way

Women’s rugby will play their next three games on the road.
Women’s rugby will play their next three games on the road.
Journal File Photo

Despite Saturday’s 32-0 loss to the second ranked Western Mustangs, women’s rugby head coach Beth Barz said things are looking up.

“We played very, very well in the first half,” she said. “Western was making a lot of mistakes that we were forcing.”

Western scored an unconverted try early in the match followed by a penalty kick just before the half.

Barz said her team grew tired in the second half of the match. They allowed the visiting Mustangs to score four more tries to secure the match.

“The two halves were very different,” she said.

She said one of the major factors in the deterioration of the second half of Saturday’s game was the team’s endurance.

“I know we are relatively fit but I think we can be very fit.” Playing in their second regulation match of the season the women showed great improvement in more than one aspect of their game, Barz said.

“We were much better at the point of contact than we were against Laurier.”

Barz said the forwards did a good job of clearing the way for the backs to run, creating many scoring chances.

“I think we just weren’t able to put enough good decision-making, tactical plays together,” Barz said, adding that, though there were times during the match where the Gaels made two or three plays in a row, it just wasn’t enough to make it over the try line.

“When you’re [coming] from your own side it’s a long way to go.”

Defence is another part of the team’s play that Barz said has come a long way. She said the team has worked hard to learn to rely on each other instead of playing individual games and, despite the score, they’ve improved significantly since their win against Laurier last week.

She added that one thing that’s especially promising about the team is their ability to build on their skills with every game.

“This team rarely makes the same mistakes twice,” she said.

Barz said that during practice players run drills designed to simulate the high-pressure scenarios they encounter in match play.

“We try to run all our drills in game situations and at game pace,” she said.

She said after each exercise the players discuss what went well and what needs to change so that mistakes made in practice don’t become mistakes made during games.

“It’s a constant questioning type of environment.”

Every Monday the women get together as a team to watch video of their latest match and to analyse each play they made. Barz said that since quick decision-making is a crucial element of high-level rugby, each player is held accountable for the decisions she makes.

“They’re questioned and they’re expected to have an answer,” she said.

The women will be on the road for three consecutive weeks, traveling first to St. Catharines to meet the Brock Badgers next Saturday. Barz said playing three away games in a row is tough on players, but she thinks the team is up for the challenge.

“If we can come through it, it’s going to show the character of our team.”

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