Men’s Rugby gives U of T the blues in season opener

Gaels open season with 89-5 victory over Varsity Blues

Sam Ibbotson run down the field with the ball against the Uoft Blues
Gael's wing Sam Ibbotson saunters down the field against the University of Toronto.

The men’s rugby team kicked off the 2019 season with a commanding 89-5 win over the University of Toronto on Sept. 7.

The scoring started early on with a try from team captain Josh Engelbrecht, just minutes into the match. Soon after, scrum half Dylan Young scored back-to-back tries to bring the Gaels’ early lead to 19-0. Young would go on to kick 12 conversions on the day.

Last year’s matchup was similarly lopsided, with Queen’s coming out ahead 97-8. The win was the first step in what the Gaels hope will be another undefeated regular season, as they aim for a third consecutive OUA title and set their sights on a national championship.

Following penalties against the Gaels on Saturday, the Varsity Blues got a burst of momentum and marched down the field, which culminated in a 20-yard try by Faiyaz Loklhandwala. This brought the score to 19-5.

Any notion of a U of T comeback was put to bed when Evan Underwood scored back-to-back tries for the Gaels to extend Queen’s lead to 33-5.

The first half closed at 54-5 following a long try by John Varriano in the aftermath of a Gaels lineout, along with another successful conversion by Dylan Young.

The second half started out quietly for the Gaels but eventually picked up, with the home team scoring 45 points and shutting out the Varsity Blues on defence. Sam Ibbotson scored two consecutive tries on two long runs down the field.

The game ended on a last-minute try from Gael’s fullback Connor King.

Despite the blowout, the team still believes there’s some tightening up to be done. In an interview following the match, Head Coach Dave Butcher said, “I think it was a bit of a messy game, we were trying things out in different combinations with the players and we were just a little bit off the ball in that first half.”

“We spoke about it at halftime, where we wanted to focus the game and the guys reacted really well. The effort in the second half and the physicality were really there to see.”

The Men’s Rugby team will travel to Laurier next weekend where they will face off against the Laurier Golden Hawks at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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