Mustangs end Gaels’ dominance

Slow start leads to rugby’s first loss to the Western Mustangs since the 2006 OUA semifinals

Queen’s hooker Mason Curtis tries to escape Western’s grasp in men’s rugby’s 31-15 loss to the Mustangs on Saturday.
Queen’s hooker Mason Curtis tries to escape Western’s grasp in men’s rugby’s 31-15 loss to the Mustangs on Saturday.

In a rematch of last year’s OUA final at Kingston Field on Saturday, an extremely strong Western Mustangs team beat the Queen’s Gaels by a score of 31-15.

After third-year winger Dan Moor converted a penalty kick to give Queen’s an early lead, Western pulled away, scoring four tries before the end of the first half.

The Gaels had a push later in the first half after eight-man Myles Dingwall made a brilliant block as the Mustangs’ full-back attempted a clearing kick. Dingwall scampered to secure the loose ball, putting down a try for the home team and sending the large 400-fan crowd into a frenzy.

Unfortunately for the Gaels, they were unable to maintain that momentum moving into the second half. While Queen’s threatened to score on several occasions, they were unsuccessful in executing effective line-outs, eventually losing ball possession near the Western tryline. Fourth-year prop Burke MacDonald tacked on a try for the Gaels, but the push from Queen’s was too little too late.

Head coach Peter Huigenbos was disappointed with the loss, but conceded that his team faced a strong opponent.

“[Western] really impressed,” he said. “They’re probably the best team in the league right now.” He also emphasized his confidence in the team.

“[The game plan] was to play some good rugby, and to move the ball,” he said. “All the boys put in a really solid effort today.”

The game was a marquee matchup between two of the best teams in the OUA, with a massive crowd on hand. Huigenbos said that it was an important game, but also just another game on the schedule for the Gaels.

“For us it was just the third game in an eight game schedule,” he said. “I’ve been around the league long enough to know not to put any extra emphasis in one particular game”.

The loss allows the Gaels to analyze their weaknesses.

“We need to be better as a team in executing our plays,” MacDonald said. “From line-outs to tighter passes, we need better execution next time around.” Losing isn’t something the Queen’s men’s rugby team is used to. Over the last three years, they haven’t lost more than once in any individual season, going undefeated last year and winning the OUA Championship.

Men’s rugby now switches their attention to their Friday night away game against the University of Guelph Gryphons.

MacDonald said that this loss doesn’t change anything with regards to the Gaels’ preparation routine and that they continue to take a week-by-week approach.

“We just have to do the same thing we do every week,” he said. “We work hard to be ready for every game, no matter who the opponent is … we just need to make sure we play our game.”

The Gaels will be in Guelph on Friday to face off against the Guelph Gryphons. Game time is 8 p.m.

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