Laurier rugby reverting back to ‘old’ habits

With Laurier’s loss to Western, head coach McLeod worries about old roots

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

According to head coach Ian McLeod, the Wilfrid Laurier men’s rugby team is reverting back to old habits. Laurier dropped a tough decision to the Western Mustangs to start their season, losing their home opener 55-12.

“I said, ‘You know guys, the only reason I feel angry right now is because we are the better team in my opinion and we aren’t playing like it.’ Back into those old habits that we need to eliminate,” said McLeod.

“We can compete in this league and we should compete in this league. We got to start thinking that we can beat Western and we can beat Guelph and we can beat Queen’s, instead of ‘oh no it’s Western,’ ‘oh no it’s Guelph,’ ‘oh no it’s Queen’s.”

The Hawks came out flying in the first half of the game, keeping the score deadlocked for 25 minutes.

However when Western opened up the scoring on the way to a 33-point first half, Laurier’s defence seemed to show signs of weakness.

The Hawks would start to get momentum, but the Mustangs would snuff it out.

Western tries seemed to come in bunches, and the Hawks lost their composure.

The Hawks gathered themselves for the second half of the game, but could not keep up with the Mustangs.

Laurier got on the board with tries from fourth-year Andrew Thomson and rookie Aidan Nesbitt, but it was not enough.

“I mean it’s hard to shake off a loss like that, but we got to shake it off we get back to doing what we can do,” said fourth-year Jordan Ford.

“I mean, it is the first game of the season but there’s a lot for us to learn from, we had a lot of first year guys in the lineup tonight. But we’re going to work hard, fix it up and be back for practice next week.”

McLeod realizes the Hawks are reverting back to their old ways.

He knows it’s his job, as well as all of the coaches job, to fix that mentality driven into the team.

Laurier struggled, posting only one win in the last two years before McLeod took over the reins as head coach.

Last year, McLeod led Laurier to three wins.

“I think that’s a little bit of history coming up,” McLeod said. “I think they’ve had some tough seasons and some of the guys [have played] through those tough seasons and the tendency has been in the past that if they get scored on — they get scored on in bunches.”

“And it happened we give up three tries in six minutes, seven minutes, and then we’ll play well for another 10 minutes and same thing. We have to eliminate that and we have to change the mindset. The mindset is very fragile. It got better last year, it got better again this year, but old habits die hard,” he continued.

The Hawks will face their next test when the Guelph Gryphons come to town. Kickoff is on Friday Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.

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