Ontario’s finest, again

Just like 2012, Gaels roll past Mustangs in title game at Nixon

Fourth-year wing Graham Turner celebrated with his teammates after beating Western.
Fourth-year wing Graham Turner celebrated with his teammates after beating Western.
Matt Mullins (top) and Jacob Rumball both scored tries in the championship game.
Matt Mullins (top) and Jacob Rumball both scored tries in the championship game.

Men’s rugby did it again.

The Gaels won the OUA championship for the second straight year last weekend, defeating the Western Mustangs 40-10 at Nixon Field to defend their Ontario crown.

On a miserable Saturday afternoon, a sea of orange rugby toques lined the field in support of the undefeated Queen’s team.

While Western was quick to get points on the board with a penalty kick, superb defence by the Gaels’ forwards shut down the Mustangs’ attack and quickly turned the tide.

From then on, the Gaels were unstoppable in their pursuit of OUA supremacy. A score of 10-7 for Western at the end of the first half was transformed into a 40-10 Queen’s victory.

Much of Queen’s success can be attributed to a stellar performance by the forwards, who were consistently dominant in their possession of the ball.

Head coach Peter Huigenbos revealed that this was the Gaels’ game plan.

“We had some success against Western with our [forward] pack,” he said. “With the weather that we had, with the wind and rain, it was not going to be a wide-attacking game like it was in last year’s championships.

“Up front, the boys knew that they had a job to do and they accomplished that, and then some.”

Several players submitted notable performances.

Fourth-year forward and captain Jacob Rumball was praised for both his leadership on the field and his outstanding performance.

Rumball was accredited with the game-winning play by the Gaels head coach, scoring a late second-half try.

“It put us away pretty clear for the win. He ran about 20 metres and broke a few tackles,” Huigenbos said. “For a man of his size to do that was an exclamation mark on the season.”

Queen’s victory this season meant more to Huigenbos than previous championships. He said the OUA is getting more competitive every year, and Queen’s has had to fight to remain on top.

“I thought that there was some very good rugby played by several schools across the OUA and this is indicative of the work that coaches and players are putting in to become better teams and better rugby players,” he said.

“I think we were lucky this year to lead the league in that respect.”

For many players on the team, including fly half Brendan McGovern and forward Tommy Kirkham, this victory was the perfect end to their final season as Gaels.

McGovern ranked second on the OUA leaderboard with 41 regular season points.

Kirkham, meanwhile, notched five total tries this year, including one in the championship game.

“It was great to come out, play our game and dominate the opposition,” Kirkham said. “All respect to Western, they played a good physical game, and no part of that game was easy.

“I am so proud to have the gold medal around my neck with my teammates.”

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