Playoff bound for men’s rugby
For the second year in a row, the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s rugby team are playoff bound.
After a tight matchup against the Brock Badgers, the Hawks came out on top with a 38-36 victory on Oct. 30. This is the Hawks first win against the Badgers since Brock’s re-introduction into the Ontario University Athletics conference in in 2008.
“I feel great. Mostly for the guys [that are] seniors. The seniors deserved to play another game and they will now, and it’s great. It’s outstanding,” said head coach Ian McLeod.
“It’s part of our process, and it’s just the next step in the line.”
The affair was close, with the Hawks holding a slim two-point lead by the half. The Badgers had two quick tries at the beginning of the game once Laurier opened the scoring. The two teams battled it out until the Hawks took a 38-22 lead in the second half.
Brock would keep it close and add another try in the dying seconds of the game, but fell short of a rally, sending the Hawks to the playoffs.
Eight-man Andrew Thomson was happy with how the Hawks strung their offence together to pick up the win and securing the sixth and final playoff position.
“Coming in at the end of the season we were a little slow, the guys are still getting used to the system, as the season went on we really started to put things together, start to string things together, and today we finally we put up 38 points,” Thomson said.
“I think that’s the most points we’ve had combined over the season so we’re pretty happy about it.”
With the win, the Hawks end the season 3-5 overall. McLeod said the Hawks turned their offence around during the second half of their game against the Queen’s Gaels on Oct. 17, and since then have been building momentum coming into the final games of the season. And with their quarter-final matchup being the Western Mustangs, the Hawks will be more than prepared.
“The way we play right now and I told the guys this before, the last 120 minutes we played, in the second half of the Queen’s game, our whole RMC [Paladins] game and now this game as well, have been the best rugby we’ve been playing this year,” he explained. “We’re gelling at the right time and I think the guys will be more than ready to play Western.”
“I thought the score wasn’t indicative of the way we played Western last time. I think we’ll give them a go.”
Last time the two schools clashed, the Mustangs scored quickly and consecutively on the way to a 55-14 victory.
According to McLeod, the Hawks will need to sharpen up their defence and be confident in their approach if they are going to pull an upset on the third-seed.
“Just confidence. Confidence and we have to sharpen our defence. We shouldn’t have given up 36 points tonight, we did, and that’s the way it goes. If we shore that up we have a very potent offence – we have 10 guys on that field who are second year or younger,” he said.
Kickoff is on Nov. 4 in London.