Lacking leadership

Laurier gave up a ten-point lead to Waterloo, settling for a 10-10 tie before the game was called. (Photo by Jody Waardenburg)
Laurier gave up a ten-point lead to Waterloo, settling for a 10-10 tie before the game was called. (Photo by Jody Waardenburg)

On Friday, the Wilfrid Laurier men’s rugby team settled for a 10-10 tie with cross-town rivals, the Waterloo Warriors, after the game was called early due to inclement weather.

While the tie is an improvement from their previous two losses this season, head coach Rob McQueen saw more potential in the rainy affair.

“The thing I’m trying to get across is that the team we have right now is actually really good,” he said. “And we have a history of it being poor in the last few years. And the one we have now is really good.

“And if we would have played by the game plan, the game would have been 35-0 minimum.”

Last year, the Hawks finished the season 1-7, winning their last game of the season against the bottom-dwelling Toronto Varsity Blues 51-0.

Coming into this season, McQueen saw a lot of potential from the Hawks and was interested in what they were able to do with such depth. However, it hasn’t been evident thus far in games.

That’s not to say that the Hawks didn’t play well against Waterloo. The Hawks were ahead 10-0 at the 45-minute mark in the second half.

However, the Warriors scored ten unanswered points to tie the game before it was called.

“In some ways, they did very well,” McQueen said. “We were in control of the game the entire time. We were inside their five-yard line several times and didn’t score.”

But there were also times the Hawks didn’t do what they should have.

“Every chance they had to be an individual and [move away] from the game plan, they took it. And it became a bunch of individuals running around, making things up as they go.”

In order for Laurier’s team to be successful, changes need to be made. The biggest, McQueen explained, comes in leadership.

“[The players] know the game plan; they know what they’re supposed to be doing. And if one guy steers away from that, that’s not a problem because a leader will say we’ll straighten you out. But if there’s no leader, then it’s a bunch of individuals doing individual things, and you can’t solve the problem.”

McQueen explained that the leadership issue could possibly be fixed by taking a look at Laurier’s ‘B’ rugby team. In the ‘B’ team’s game on the weekend, Laurier defeated Waterloo 50-0 – a large margin of difference from the ‘A’ team’s 10-10 tie.

“There’s plenty of depth there, there’s plenty of athletes that are hungry to step in, and I’ve just got to find out if there’s one or two of those athletes that can step in and be a leader, or quickly put pressure on the guys playing on the first team now to realize there are certain things they have to do,” McQueen said.

And change will have to come fast for WLU, as their next test will be against the RMC Paladins in Kingston, before returning home to play the Guelph Gryphons on Oct. 5.

“Our team, athletically, is probably top three or four,” McQueen said. “As soon as we play the game plan, as soon as we get that together, everything can change in a heartbeat.”

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