Rugby travels new roads

Gaels ready to adjust to new faces and new challenges after OUA conference amalgamation

After resounding wins over Royal Military College and the University of Toronto with a combined score of 149-3, the men’s rugby team has amassed 10 points placing them top of the league.

With the merger of the OUA’s East and West divisions, they sit first in the province.

At the end of last season, the Trent Excalibur and Windsor Lancers withdrew from the league. Instead of continuing with two depleted conferences, the East and West divisions, the OUA created one division for all the teams.

The change means the Gaels will face the Waterloo Warriors, Guelph Gryphons and Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks for the first time in regular season play.

Inside centre Ryan Kruyne said the team is looking forward to the challenge of lining up against some new opponents.

“These teams coming from the west are good rugby teams, so we can only get better by playing them,” Kruyne said. “It’s going to be better for our team facing new and different competition. It will make us focused and perfect what we want to do as a team.”

Kruyne said he’s excited to match up against the teams to establish a new measuring stick for the Queen’s rugby program and their play.

“We have confidence in our structure and the style of rugby we want to play,” he said. “It’s exciting to be able to see these extra teams and test out how our style of rugby will do against them.”

Although the Gaels aren’t going into the games with a detailed picture of how the former OUA West teams play, Kruyne said it won’t take long to see where they stack up in the competition.

“We don’t do any scouting but just looking at past performances, playing against teams that we have played against before, we can get a bit of an idea,” Kruyne said.

Winger Mike Wong added there will likely be more in-game adjustments once the Gaels see their opponent’s type of play.

“It’s definitely a lot different,” Wong said. “We know the game plans of the teams we’ve played for so long, so against the new teams it’ll definitely be a longer halftime speech in determining what their weaknesses are and strengths are to adjust for the second half.”

Queen’s won’t have to wait long to get a taste of the new teams as they visit Waterloo tomorrow.

“[Waterloo] played McMaster last weekend and they lost 18-8, which is about the same score we lost to McMaster by last year in the OUA finals,” Wong said. “Waterloo should be a pretty tough matchup after playing Toronto and RMC.”

Queen’s will kick off against the Waterloo Warriors this Saturday at 1 p.m. at the University of Waterloo.

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