Queen’s tries for four

Four players get first taste of OUA action in easy home win

The Gaels are now 5-1 after a 67-5 win over RMC.
The Gaels are now 5-1 after a 67-5 win over RMC.
Last Friday's game saw four new additions to the Gaels first team.
Last Friday's game saw four new additions to the Gaels first team.

The goal is to win, scoring four tries in the process.

This wasn’t an issue last Friday against RMC, where Queen’s beat the Paladins 67-5 at home.

“What’s nice [in rugby] is that points for and against don’t always matter,” said Gaels head coach Peter Huigenbos. “Once you get four tries, you’ve just got to get the win.”

Rugby’s traditionally unusual point system persists in the OUA, where teams earn bonus points for types of wins and losses.

They’re awarded four points for a win, two bonus points for scoring at least four tries, or two bonus points for losing by a seven-point deficit or less.

The Gaels’ 22-20 home loss to Western, their only defeat of the season, wasn’t part of the initial plan. Nor is it a death sentence in their pursuit of first place in the OUA, and home field advantage for all playoff matches.

Queen’s holds a two-point advantage over Western in the standings; a four-try win over Guelph would essentially isolate the Gaels atop the division.

If last Friday’s game was any indication, Queen’s is in a good position to attain that goal.

“Our boys really put the structures together today,” Huigenbos said. “[RMC] came out playing open rugby … and our guys had a good day.”

The lineup featured four players stepping into OUA first division play for the first time: centre Brendan Sloan and forwards David Williams, Ciaran McSwiggan and Rami Bahgat.

Sloan was one of four Gaels to earn two tries in the rout, joined by first-team regulars Doug Davidson, Graham Turner and Jeffrey MacDonald. The play of first-year Andrew Carr in the fly-half position was equally hard to ignore, despite fourth-year fly-half Liam Underwood’s 18-point performance against Waterloo the week before.

“It was great to see what [Carr] did out there today,” Huigenbos said. “It was tough to follow what Underwood did last week, but he played his own game and played well.”

Team captain Dan Moor sat out of the game with a minor leg injury, while veteran forwards Matt Kelly and Tim Richardson were given a rest. Underwood and lock Jacob Rumball took the game off in preparation for a two-week excursion in B.C. to compete for the Americas Rugby Championships.

Underwood and Moor were key absences in the devastating loss to Western three weeks ago. While the Gaels roster has again proven itself to be deep, their final season game against Guelph (5-0) on Oct. 26 could require a full lineup.

“It’s just four tries,” Huigenbos said. “But there’s a lot of good teams in the league this year, so every point counts.”

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