Men’s rugby squeaks out win at Western to stay perfect

With Homecoming win over Mustangs, Gaels stay on course for second straight undefeated season as they claim sole possession of first in OUA

Hooker Mason Curtis (centre) and props Shayne Dolden (left) and Tom Binczyk (right) set up for a scrum against the Mustangs on Saturday in London. The Gaels won 13-12, marking the first Queen’s men’s rugby win over Western since 2001.
Hooker Mason Curtis (centre) and props Shayne Dolden (left) and Tom Binczyk (right) set up for a scrum against the Mustangs on Saturday in London. The Gaels won 13-12, marking the first Queen’s men’s rugby win over Western since 2001.
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Eight-man Tim Richardson sets up for a stiff-arm against a Western tackle on Saturday in London. The Gaels won 13-12.
Eight-man Tim Richardson sets up for a stiff-arm against a Western tackle on Saturday in London. The Gaels won 13-12.
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Last year, the men’s rugby team’s record at season’s end was 5-0-1, the lone tie a 12-12 draw at Western that extended their winless streak in London to seven years.

On Saturday, the Gaels finally chalked up a win in Mustangs territory, capping a 13-12 decision for sole possession of first place in the OUA and temporary bragging rights. Eight-man Tim Richardson recorded the Gaels’ only try and centre Ryan Kruyne kicked through the single conversion and two penalties.

The victory was made all the sweeter for the Gaels given that they were playing in front of Western’s Homecoming crowd, which second-year winger Scott Kyle said allowed Queen’s to attain a higher level of focus.

“They were loud, they were very in your face. I was standing on the wing and I could hear it but you’ve got to block it out, play your own game and focus on what you’ve got to do,” he said, adding that head coach Peter Huigenbos constantly reminded the team they hadn’t won in London since 2001.

As the Gaels prepare for Friday’s home game against the Guelph Gryphons, a team Queen’s has never met in league play, Kyle said it’s important they keep their heads on straight.

“We can’t get complacent,” he said. “We need to go from week-to-week and get better every week, there’s always room for improvement. … If we get our set piece perfect it’ll do us really good things for us.”

Scrum-half Calum Ramsay said the win is important for more than just the team’s confidence. He said it sent a clear message to the rest of the league.

“It was definitely a good feeling after coming really close last year. To do it in front of Western’s Homecoming crowd made it that much better.”

Ramsay said preparation was an important factor in the Gaels’ win, and will come in handy if the two teams meet in the post-season.

“Western’s a really strong team but we did manage to find some weaknesses and exploit them. I’m sure if we play them again we’ll do the same thing,” he said.

The Gaels kick off against the Guelph Gryphons at 1 p.m. on Friday at Kingston Field.

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