Women’s rugby fall to Guelph in OUA Finals

Queen's claim OUA silver with eyes set on National Championships

This was the rugby team's first OUA final since 2013.
Credit: 
Queen's Athletics and Recreation

Although being the underdog is nothing new for the women’s rugby team, the Gaels were unable to be on the winning side of another upset this weekend.

Against the number two nationally-ranked Guelph Gryphons in the OUA final, the Gaels dropped the gold medal match by a score of 43-17 — a score that hardly reflected the intensity of the game.

“We would’ve liked to get the win but it was a good experience for us — I think there’s a lot we can take away from it and just be better this week,” head coach Dan Valley said.

Although Saturday’s game started slowly, the action soon picked up with a Gryphons try and completed conversion. Even though Queen’s was able to respond with a try of their own — they missed the conversion — Guelph began to pile on their attack as the half moved on, adding 15 more points before halftime.

With Guelph leading 22-5, the Gaels made their push for victory at the beginning of the second half. After scoring 12 straight points, Queen’s was brought within five points of defeating the defending OUA champions.

Unfortunately this was the end of Queen’s success, as crucial turnovers by the Gaels came back to haunt them. A Guelph try in the middle of the half nearly signaled the end of Queen’s comeback, as the Gryphons ran away with the game in the final 10 minutes.

“Guelph capitalized on our little mistakes, which is expected by any team at this level of rugby,” third-year fly half Kara Gani said. Prior to the game, Gani was named an OUA first team All-Star.

Despite the gravity of the match, Valley said nerves weren’t a contributing factor to the loss.

“I think we were feeling pretty confident and rightfully so — I think everybody believed we could go into Guelph and beat them,” Valley said. “I think the athletes left that match disappointed in the outcome but I think they’re still hungry. I think they know that we didn't take advantage of all the opportunities that we were afforded.”

With their silver medal finish, Queen’s earned a berth at the U Sports national championships in November. They’re set to fly westwards to Lethbridge, Alberta next Tuesday and will play their first game two days later. Though they don’t know their opponent yet, there’s no shortage of confidence on the team.

“I think that everyone is just really happy that we get a chance to show the rest of the country just how far our program has come,” Gani said. “We definitely have the ability to do well. There will obviously be some nerves going into the games, but it’s nothing that we as a team can’t handle.”

The Gaels plan on taking this weekend’s experience with them to Lethbridge, treating it as a prerequisite to the high-intensity games that await them at the national championships.

“I think the overarching takeaway is that we’re getting in the ring with some very good sides that are going to capitalize on our mistakes so I think we’re going to take risks and have fun playing the game and push the envelope the best we can,” Valley said.

Gani echoed many of Valley’s sentiments of positivity going into the championships, with the prospect of travelling to play Canada’s best as a great source of excitement for the team.

“We’re really excited to be able to showcase our team’s abilities on a national stage,” Gani said.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.