Ferocious finish gets Queen’s past Mustangs

Second-half effort pushes men’s rugby over rivals

Wing Kainoa Lloyd’s 70-metre run set up the Gaels first try of the match.
Wing Kainoa Lloyd’s 70-metre run set up the Gaels first try of the match.
Queen’s has conceded an OUA-low 60 points through seven games in 2014.
Queen’s has conceded an OUA-low 60 points through seven games in 2014.

A Homecoming win over the Western Mustangs (4-2-1) kept the Gaels atop the provincial standings heading into the season’s final game.

Queen’s (6-1) came out on top against their historical rival, beating Western 33-8 after exploding for 26 unanswered points in the second half.

After reckless play in the first half put the Gaels behind 8-7 heading into the break, the squad found their footing in the final 40 minutes.

“We had a bunch of penalties against us,” fourth-year forward James Dent said about the opening half. “Discipline definitely cost us.”

Forward Angus MacPhail kicked off the scoring in the second half, when he burst through the middle of the Mustangs’ defence. Adam McQueen hit his second conversion of the match, giving the Gaels a lead they wouldn’t give up.

The next score was contributed by forward Lucas Rumball, giving the Gaels a 21-8 lead after McQueen connected on another convert.

Dent added a try of his own, and Rumball scored again to put the Gaels up 33-8 by the contest’s conclusion.

Dent praised the play of his fellow forwards in getting the team a win.

“In the pack we played pretty well — we scored all the tries,” he said.

The second half was a monumental difference from the Gaels’ play in the opening minutes. The Mustangs came on strong out of the gate, controlling the ball well and penetrating the Queen’s zone.

Western wasn’t able to capitalize on an early Gaels fumble, and Queen’s moved on to score the first points of the game. Forward Joseph Yelle scored the try, while McQueen hit the conversion.

The Mustangs responded minutes later with a try of their own, but missed the conversion kick to trail 7-5.

Western then made another run at the Queen’s try line, but the ball carrier was hauled down by a high tackle. Players were sent to their respective benches while an ambulance drove onto the field and the Mustang was transferred to a cart, then into the back of the vehicle.

Following the long break, the Mustangs were awarded a penalty kick, which they hit, bringing the score to 8-7 – the final points Western tallied in the match.

A boisterous crowd turned up for the match despite overcast conditions, including many alumni and former players.

Dent said the team enjoyed and appreciated the support.

“It was absolutely incredible,” he said. “Even with a bit of rain [there was a good turnout] and that definitely gets the boys up and ready to play.

“I think that was a huge boost for us and definitely helped us pull through in the second half,” he added.

The match was a strong defensive showing for the Gaels, who limited the province’s third-highest scoring team to a single try.

This Saturday, the men will play their final game of the regular season at home against the Waterloo Warriors (1-6).

Last season, the Gaels shut out the Warriors 62-0. Waterloo has allowed 259 points against this year, the second-worst total in the league, while Queen’s is the second-highest scoring team in the OUA with 314 points for.

The match with Waterloo will likely be an opportunity for head coach Gary Gilks to rest players in advance of the playoffs.

It’s also the Gaels’ chance to lock up first place and the post-season home-field advantage that comes with it.

“[Home-field advantage] would be huge for us,” Dent said.

OUA Standings

1. Queen’s (6-1) – 31 pts

2. Guelph (6-1) – 30 pts

3. McMaster (5-2) – 25 pts

T-4. Brock (4-2-1) – 22 pts

T-4. Western (4-2-1) – 22 pts

6. Laurier (3-4) – 13 pts

7. RMC (2-6) – 13 pts

8. Waterloo (1-6) – 5 pts

9. Toronto (0-7) – 0 pts

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