Continuing an Ontario dynasty

A shot for four straight OUA titles on the line

The Gaels defeated Western in the OUA semifinal, marking the third time in four seasons Queen’s knocked the Mustangs out of the playoffs.
The Gaels defeated Western in the OUA semifinal, marking the third time in four seasons Queen’s knocked the Mustangs out of the playoffs.
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It’s been said that there are three guarantees in life: death, taxes and Queen’s having a place in the OUA men’s rugby final. Or at least, that’s the way it’s been since 2011, as the Gaels enter their fifth straight gold medal game, looking for their fourth championship in a row.
 
Queen’s plays in Guelph against the Gryphons on Sunday for their chance at the title, with kickoff set for 1 p.m.
 
Head coach Gary Gilks said the team isn’t focused on creating a dynasty, but rather just winning this one game.
 
“That’s pressure that we don’t really talk about or think about,” he said. “Yes, we know this is [our fifth consecutive final] and we’d love to win it, but we’re not going to think about that.”
 
“We’re just going to worry about getting through the systems, and the structure. If it goes well, we come back with a gold. But we’re not going to think about the legacy or anything like that. We’re just focused on what we’ve got to do.”
 
The team earned their spot in the final with a 37-8 victory over the Western Mustangs on Saturday night at home in the OUA semifinal. Gilks said he was pleased with every players’ contribution on the night.
 
“I’m not going to pick one person out,” he said. “It was solid. It wasn’t all the backs; it wasn’t all the forwards. Everyone played their position well and we did it as a team.”
 
Queen’s translated a 7-1 regular season record into a first round playoff bye, having to play just one playoff game to get to the final. However, their single loss of the regular season came was at the hands of Guelph, when they fell by a score of 35-28.
 
This time around, Gilks believes the team has the ability to change their fortunes, but it’s critical for the team to stay fixated on their upcoming opponent, rather than think about winning a championship.
 
“Each week is a step-by-step process,” he said. “Up until this week we never thought about the final. All week we focused on Western because we knew it’d be a tough test. We’re looking forward to going to Guelph, for sure.”
  
Winger Kai Lloyd, who scored seven tries on the season and added another on the weekend, said the team’s victory on Saturday showed a consistent performance that Queen’s was looking to have.
 
“Everyone played really well,” he said. “Everyone performed the tasks that we need to perform. We all were positive throughout the game. Even when they got some points on the board, we kept our composure. We just fought out and won.”
 
The last OUA team to win four straight titles was the Gaels themselves, accomplishing the feat from 1993-96.
 
“[We need to] stay focused, and perform all the little basics. [We need to] get prepped and be fired up for the next game.”
 

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