Men’s rugby hoping to even the score

The Gaels host McMaster on Saturday looking to avenge last year’s finals disappointment

Gaels’ loosehead prop Matt Cameron in the huddle after Queen’s lost an 18-10 final to the McMaster Marauders on Nov. 11, 2008 at Fletcher’s Field in Markham.
Gaels’ loosehead prop Matt Cameron in the huddle after Queen’s lost an 18-10 final to the McMaster Marauders on Nov. 11, 2008 at Fletcher’s Field in Markham.
Journal File Photo

Fletcher’s Field, a rugby pitch that has not been a kind place to the men’s rugby team, lies on the outskirts of Markham, Ont. The neutral site of the OUA finals since 2005, the Gaels post an 0-4 record in finals games in the last four years, most recently an 18-10 loss last season to the McMaster Marauders.

Tomorrow marks the first meeting between Queen’s and McMaster since that game and scrum half Calum Ramsay said the team is only looking for one outcome.

“There’s no question about it, we’re out to win,” he said. “There are a lot of guys on the team who were on the field at Fletcher’s last year, and they weren’t the team holding up the banner, so it would be a really great thing for us to be able to pull off a win against McMaster.”

The Gaels haven’t been truly challenged yet this season, outscoring their opponents 202-6 in three wins. They have yet to surrender a try and sit atop the OUA standings. But, Ramsay said the team is trying to keep themselves focused for this week’s game.

“We’ve been working hard and played some teams we’ve been able to score quite a few points against so far,” he said. “The entire season so far has been building up to this game against McMaster and next week’s game against Western. We’re not under any sort of false pretense that we’re going to have an easy game against these guys. They’re always a tough squad to play against.”

The 2-0 Marauders also enter the game undefeated, but Ramsay said Queen’s would concentrate on their own game.

“I think the game plan is just to play hard, uncompromising rugby and to go out there and play our game and not get carried away with any other thing [McMaster] tries to pull against us,” Ramsay said.

Ramsay said his team is more knowledgeable than last year and have added fresh talent that could provide a spark.

“We do have new faces on the squad but we also have a lot of veterans who over the summer picked up a lot of extra experience,” he said. “This game is a big game for us. Everybody knows, even the new faces on the squad, that we’re out there to bring home the win.”

Perhaps the biggest thing working in the Gaels’ favour is that the game will be played on home turf.

“The fans are always a great addition to any game,” Ramsay said. “It’s great to have that base supporting you and it really does affect how we play the game, it will take things up a notch.”

Queen’s hosts McMaster tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Kingston Field.

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