Rugby takes show on road

Men bring two teams for matches in Mar Tel Plata and Buenos Aires

The rugby team, seen here in the Oct. 13 Homecoming match against Western, went to Argentina over Reading Week.
The rugby team, seen here in the Oct. 13 Homecoming match against Western, went to Argentina over Reading Week.

The men’s rugby team got a chance to play in warmer surroundings on a trip to Argentina over Reading Week.

The Queen’s rugby club sent two teams to Argentina for games in Buenos Aires and the resort town of Mar Tel Plata. The second team lost two hard-fought games, but the first squad rallied in Mar Tel Plata after being down 12-5 to score three tries in the final 15 minutes of the game to win 27-19.

Ryan Kruyne, Colin Alexander, Graham Watt, Tim Richardson and Zach Pancer scored tries for Queen’s, with Kruyne also kicking two conversions.

The win was the team’s first over a men’s team on tour since their trip to Ireland in 1999.

Tour co-ordinator and fifth-year player Colin Frenke said the trip gave the players a chance to work on team chemistry.

“Because we had two teams it worked out really well, the younger guys get to know the older guys. … There was a lot of cohesion,” he said. “It was nice to get that final win.”

The team’s season finished in November, which meant they had to rent a horse-training area north of Kingston to stay in game shape.

“I think without the training the final game wouldn’t have gone as well,” Frenke said.

The team’s trip began on Feb. 16 in Buenos Aires, where the second team fell 41-5 to the host team and the first team suffered a 24-10 defeat.

Head coach Peter Huigenbos said the second team had an admirable first half, but “forgot how to tackle in the second half.”

Feb. 21 in Marta Del Plata the second squad had tries from Graeme Dibden, Dan Taggart, Dan Salvatore and Mike Readshaw, but couldn’t quite seal the deal in a 24-22 loss.

Huigenbos said the team had played in Mar Tel Plata and lost on their last tour in 2001, so the first team’s win was meaningful and his team was ready for the Argentinian style of rugby.

“We knew that they would play more of a wide-open game with a lot of kicking, but up front they’re also very strong and very powerful,” he said. “We spent a lot of preparation time on scrimmaging technique as well as getting in the best fitness we could to match their speed.”

“We wanted to beat them at their own game. That’s how we prepared and it paid off, that’s for sure.”

Huigenbos said the trip benefited the team.

“It’s a very rewarding experience for the guys to experience a different culture, do so much team bonding and play a high level of rugby—I can’t think of a better way to spend a better Reading Week as a student-athlete.”

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