Rugby run roughshod over regional rivals

The men’s rugby team kicked their season off on the right foot after a convincing win at RMC

Scott Kyle and Ryan Kruyne haul down an RMC player during Queen’s 72-0 shellacking of RMC.
Scott Kyle and Ryan Kruyne haul down an RMC player during Queen’s 72-0 shellacking of RMC.

Following an undefeated season and a second-straight OUA silver medal season, the men’s rugby team were looking to start their fledgling season off with a bang on Wednesday afternoon when they visited cross-town rivals the Royal Military College Paladins.

Eighty minutes and 12 tries later, the Tricolour left the pitch with smiles on their faces and a 72-0 win chalked up on the board.

After RMC squandered its first and only chance of the game to put points on the board in the early minutes, flanker Pat Richardson put the Gaels ahead by a try and the points rolled from there. Five more first-half tries came almost every five minutes courtesy of Mike Wong, Daniel Moor, Henry McQueen and a pair from Graeme Dibden. Second half tries came in a more spread-out fashion, touched down by Tim Richardson, Graeme Whyte, Scott Kyle, Ryan Guichon and Burke MacDonald.

Despite the heavy scoreline, head coach Peter Huigenbos said it wasn’t an easy match for his squad.

“RMC provided a great challenge today,” he said. “They hit very hard, their scrum was very tight and they pushed us around a bit. The score is one thing, but the actual game in the physicality is another and it was a hard game. Hats off to RMC for laying the hits that they did.”

Huigenbos said he felt the team’s only struggles against RMC came from their set plays, while their defensive play and speed were major positives.

“Our lineouts struggled a bit today which was very uncharacteristic of our boys,” he said. “We created a lot of turnovers and the boys seemed to have a lot of fun today moving the ball wide and running down the park.”

Dibden said the match provided Queen’s with the confidence to get its play together in preparation for games against more seasoned teams later in the season, some of whom the Gaels have never faced in league play before, like the Guelph Gryphons and the Waterloo Warriors.

“We moved the ball, used our pace and capitalized on loose balls,” he said. “We did really well on the counter-attack and it was good to get the win. We’ve got to take this and capitalize on it; we’ve got U of T next week, Waterloo the week after, then Mac which is a big game. So it’s a good stepping stone.”

Vice-captain Ryan Kruyne, who is assuming captaincy duties while Alistair Clark is on provincial duty with the Ontario Blues, scored a try and made six out of 12 conversions. He agreed creating turnovers was the key to the Gaels’ success.

“Most of our tries came from that turnover ball and just capitalizing on the space and moving the ball out wide,” he said. “Other than that we’re working together and sticking a nice cohesive team out there and working the ball.”

While the season is still in its infancy, Huigenbos said he has no doubts about where he wants to be come November.

“We see ourselves hoisting the trophy. There’s no doubt in our minds, that’s our goal. Our goal’s to go out and play each game, win each game, get to Fletcher’s [Field, annual site of the OUA final] and finish the job.”

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