Men’s rugby advance to playoffs

Women upset by McMaster, men blank U of T and RMC by combined score of 111-0

A Queen’s men’s rugby player hands off the ball during Saturday’s final regular season match.
A Queen’s men’s rugby player hands off the ball during Saturday’s final regular season match.
Spencer Fu

The men’s rugby team heads into the playoffs riding a three-game winning streak after wins against Toronto and RMC last weekend. The Gaels didn’t give up a single point, beating RMC 65-0 and Toronto 46-0.

Although they were playing easier opponents, flanker Spencer Cameron said that the RMC game helped prepare them for the playoffs.

“It was one of the better games we played all year,” he said. “We were really moving the ball well from the back.

“We’re peaking at the right time.”

Mike Hamata and Kai Sorensen agreed. “In the past it was typically our forwards that scored,” Hamata said.

“We had a pretty one-dimensional attack,” Sorensen added.

In the game against RMC, wing Colin Alexander scored four tries to lead all scorers with 20 points.

The Gaels will now face Carleton in the OUA quarter-finals on Wednesday. The last meeting between these two teams ended in a 58-0 victory for the Gaels.

Cameron emphasized that the Gaels are trying not to look too far ahead but are preparing for a game against McMaster. “We haven’t beaten McMaster in four years,” Sorensen said. “It’s time for a little bit of redemption.”

Both Cameron and Sorensen said that the Gaels have one of their strongest teams since 2001-02 when the team won the OUA banner. McMaster has won three of the past four championships.

“We’re playing for gold,” Sorensen said. “Guys know that there are no second chances when we make any mistakes.”

In practices leading up to the playoffs the Gaels will don orange toques, an age-old tradition in the club.

“It’s a little bit of a good luck charm,” Hamata said. “Guys will either receive theirs in practice or have theirs from previous years.”

If the Gaels beat Carleton they will play McMaster on October 29th.

While the men prepare for the playoffs the women are looking forward to next year after their quarter-final loss to McMaster.

The team needed only one try to advance to the semi-finals of the OUA playoffs but fell short in their 8-5 loss to the McMaster Marauders. The Marauders are ranked fifth in the division and upset the fourth-ranked Gaels.

Head coach Beth Barz said that the game was tightly contested and either team could have won the game.

“The girls played very strong physically,” Barz said. “But probably didn’t make the best decisions, which lead to the loss basically.”

She added that there were many positive aspects to the Gaels’ game but mistakes in passing and dropped balls made it difficult to win.

The loss eliminated the Gaels from the playoffs.

“Next year, I’d like to see us at least making the semi-finals,” she said.

The Gaels will see a large turnover from this year with 10-12 players graduating.

Barz said she isn’t especially worried. Five of their 12 rookies started in the quarter-final.

“It’s going to be a huge loss for us. Many of those players have played four years with us,” she said. “But their experience rubbed off on the 12 rookies we have.

“We certainly have room to build on.”

Barz also said that the team will likely see another strong recruiting class in 2007 and the team will still be competing in the Sheils division.

“It’s good to be staying in the tier one division,” Barz said. “We’ll have the opportunity to play against good competition all year.”

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