Men’s rugby beginning to rebuild
[Best_Wordpress_Gallery gallery_type=”slideshow” theme_id=”1″ gallery_id=”2″ sort_by=”order” order_by=”asc” slideshow_effect=”fade” slideshow_interval=”5″ slideshow_width=”800″ slideshow_height=”500″ enable_slideshow_autoplay=”1″ enable_slideshow_shuffle=”0″ enable_slideshow_ctrl=”1″ enable_slideshow_filmstrip=”1″ slideshow_filmstrip_height=”90″ slideshow_enable_title=”0″ slideshow_title_position=”top-right” slideshow_enable_description=”1″ slideshow_description_position=”bottom-right” enable_slideshow_music=”0″ slideshow_music_url=”” gallery_name=”Men]
The tide is slowly beginning to turn for the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s rugby team.
A season after failing to win a single game, the team posted a 23-14 win over the Waterloo Warriors in their first game of the season on Sept. 3.
However, this past weekend the Golden Hawks fell steeply to the reigning Ontario University Athletics champions, the Queen’s Gaels.
McLeod took over the squad for this season, and one of his main goals is to change the attitude amongst the team. He believes a new mentality is starting to take hold.
“The culture has to change and it is beginning to. I think the belief system here was that we just show up and get our sweaters, socks and shorts and that’s it. I think that’s changed to ‘what do we have to do to win,’ ” he said.
He also believes the players are taking to his no-nonsense approach to coaching so far
“I think it’s the physicality that the guys are bringing. No one’s given up … the guys are enjoying the practices and realize that I am not going to screw around and that we are here to win, and I think they want that,” he said.
McLeod did not see the game against the Gaels as a disappointment, but rather as an opportunity to give some of his players a chance to play against a top level team.
“I put some bodies on the field that I knew weren’t quite ready for that level … That level is where we need to get to as a team and I think it was very valuable for them to get that run and I think they performed very well,” he said.
The game against Queen’s was a perfect example of the attitude change on the team, from what McLeod was hearing from the players.
“Some of the comments I heard were ‘against Queen’s last year we could not put two phases together.’ Watching the game, we put at least six or seven together at a time,” he said.
Two games into the year, this team already has improved on their campaign compared to a season ago and is looking to shake off their loss this past weekend and get back above .500.
This weekend, the McMaster Marauders will come to University Stadium to face the Golden Hawks. The Marauders are 2-0 after defeating The Royal Military College of Canada and Waterloo
University in their first two games. McLeod was very clear about his expectations coming into the weekend.
“I’ve watched Mac play and they are no better than us … we certainly should be competitive in that game and I expect us, if we play as we can, to win the game,” he said.
The game against McMaster is on Sept. 14 at 1 p.m.