Rugby up for tough semifinal

After getting a first-round bye, the men’s rugby team is hosting reigning champion McMaster Marauders tomorrow

The men’s rugby team hasn’t lost a game since one year ago Sunday, Nov. 8, when the McMaster Marauders beat them 18-10 in the OUA finals in Markham.

The Gaels had their revenge this season, though, with a convincing 59-5 win at Kingston Field on Sept. 26. The two teams collide once more in the OUA semifinal tomorrow at Kingston Field.

Outside centre Ryan Kruyne said the Gaels are cautious going into a playoff game against the Marauders, but have the skill to win.

“We’re not nervous, but we’re confident,” he said. “We respect Mac and we respect their skill and their team, but we’ve been playing great rugby and we’re continuing to train really hard. This is the most important game we’ve played this year and we’re putting in the effort necessary to go forward.”

After the Sept. 26 game, McMaster head coach Phil White lined his team up under the scoreboard and took a picture. That picture has been blown up and hangs in the Marauder dressing room.

Kruyne, who scored 19 points in that game, said the Gaels will have to match McMaster’s intensity on the field.

“We had the fortune of beating every team,” he said. “Whether we beat them by a point or 40 points, they all have that anger towards us and that drive to beat us. … Mac’s always been a team that played straight-up hard rugby and it doesn’t matter what they’re planning to throw at us, we’ve got to be ready to match that and we’ll play with the intensity required to match them.”

Although McMaster had to play a quarter-final against the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks last weekend to get to the semifinal game against Queen’s, the Gaels had a first-round bye, meaning this will be the first game the Tricolour have played in two weeks.

Kruyne said the break has given the team the opportunity to rest and prepare.

“You can’t dwell on what you get in terms of scheduling,” he said. “We took the opportunity to rest some wounds that were bothering us, and this week of training has been amazing. Guys are really switched on and ready to rock and it hasn’t really affected us at all.”

Inside centre Graeme Dibden, who scored a try in 59-5 regular-season win over the Marauders, said McMaster will be looking to prove themselves after losing so badly to the Gaels.

“They’re definitely going to feel like they have something to prove and they’ll be gunning for us. They’re not going to want to let that happen again. I think they’re going to come out to show that that was a fluke and they can compete with us.”

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