The 2015 Ontario University Association (OUA) men’s rugby season did not get off to a good start for Brock. The team dropped their opening two games to begin the season. Losing to McMaster 28-14 and top ranked Queen’s 40-0. However, the team bounced back quickly. They defeated the University of Toronto 27-12 and Waterloo 25-19 to bring their record to an even 2-2.
Unfortunately, that would be the last of any victories for the men. They finished the season 2-6, which was a decline from last season when the team finished 5-2-1 in regular season play and 7-3-1 overall.
“It would be hard to say that this year’s roster is better than last year’s,” said head coach Philip Sullivan prior to the start of the season. The coach wasn’t negatively putting his team down, he just knew that it would be a growing experience for the players.
The team had lost four OUA all-stars from the 2014 season, but that did not mean the team would not be competitive for this season. Even with departure of key players, Sullivan knew he had Jeremy Brownridge, Chris Gladney and Eric Moyers returning and stepping in as leaders. Dylan Mundy, Nabeel Imtiaz and Liam Grimes were also eligible to join the team this year as well.
Brock entered the final game of the season tied for the final playoff spot with Laurier. The final game was also against Laurier, so the winner of that game would receive the spot. Both teams have struggled in defending all season. With such a crucial game, both teams had to bring their “A-game.”
It was the closest game Brock had played all season, but it didn’t finish the way they wanted. Laurier would go onto win 38-36 over the Badgers, causing the end of the season for Brock. The tiebreaker for the final playoff spot goes to Laurier.
Other losses for the men came against Guelph (55-20), Royal Military College (21-12), and Western (30-18). All three of those games were played at Brock’s rugby field – next year Brock’s men’s and women’s rugby teams will get the chance to play on Alumni Field.
The Badgers also had 16 fourth and fifth-year players, in which most look to be on their way to graduation. That will leave Sullivan with the need to recruit to players to add to his already young team. The Badgers had 29 first and second year players on the roster this year, and all stepped in to contribute along with the veteran players.
Next season Brock could enter being an even younger team, but a majority of their first year players now have experience under their belt, meaning next season could be an improved year for the Badgers men’s rugby program.