Both the Brock Men’s and Women’s rugby teams faced tough opponents this past weekend. The Men’s team was scheduled to take on the closely matched Laurier Golden Hawks in an away game on September 25. The Golden Hawks came into the competition after a hefty loss to the OUA defending champions, the Queens Gaels, with a record of 2-1 leaving them tied for fourth place in the division along with Trent Excalibur. The Badgers entered Kitchener with a 1-2 record in the fifth place of the OUA standings coming off a loss to the top seated team in the division, the Guelph Gryphons.
Looking back into the history behind these two teams, it is apparent that their statistics and gameplay have always garnered a very close rivalry. In 2014 Brock eliminated the Golden Hawks in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. Last year when these two teams met, the Golden Hawks narrowly defeated the Badgers by a score of
38-36 eliminating Brock from postseason play. This season alone the Badgers have scored just 12 less points than the Golden Hawks while allowing only 27 more points scored against them within regulation play.
“We have a short season so all games are important, but this is definitely a huge game for our season. Particularly after our loss to Trent, a win this weekend will help put us back in control of our own destiny for the second half of the season,” commented head coach Philip Sullivan.
Luckily, the Men’s Badgers team was able to overcome their rivalry and improve to a 2-2 record after defeating the Golden Hawks by a score of 26-19. The Badgers offense was spearheaded by winger Nabeel Imtiaz who finished the game with two tries and is the only player to have scored in the past two consecutive games for the Badgers. One of his tries that the team will hope to recreate in future games came off of a lineout when Wade Little received the ball and broke through two defenders creating a two on two rush situation. Drawing in the defenders, Little passed the ball and found Imtiaz who beat the final defender for the try. Karl Mueller, a Pickering native, along with Brendan Long from Smithville each contributed one try apiece while fly half Nathan Boeyenga converted three of four kicks for a total of six points in the win.
“This weekend we knew we were in for a tough game. Laurier is a solid team, and we knew that whatever happened would dictate the rest of or season. The forwards stepped up and made huge tackles, and the backs used our pace and beat Laurier on the outside. We showed great work ethic, but can improve even more,” commented Imtiaz after the game.
Brock will look to continue their momentum into their playoff push on October 1 in a home game against the Royal Military College of Canada.
The Brock Women’s rugby team hosted the Western Mustangs on September 24. Brock entered the competition 0-2 and scoreless throughout their season.
“In order to develop and build towards the future, a team needs to have the right mindset for whatever goal they want to achieve. And, in order for a team to get there, a team needs to recognize that it is not an overnight process. Successful programs take time and effort — something that these ladies have been and are willing to continue to do. Building a stronger rugby program is not just an idea to these ladies, they are already making it happen each and everyday they show up,” commented head coach Stefanie Pavlovich.
With the goal of development and improvement steeped within the psych of the Women’s team, our ladies faired well against the Mustangs in many aspects of the game. For example, our forwards played an extremely well fought game grinding the ball offensively up the field for small but consistent gains in territory. However, the Mustangs were able to successfully counter and swing the ball out to break down the Badger defense. Their backs swiftly exploited overlaps in the Badger line and scored 29 points within the first 45 minutes of the competition. Our Badgers were not defeated at this point as our ladies retaliated in the second half through a nifty try scored by back, Krystal Lyttleton, who recorded the team’s first points of the season. The Mustangs walked away victorious in an end result of 62-7 but there were several positives to admire about the way our Women’s team performed in the game. Not only did the forwards play an intense game matching the Mustangs in many regards but our backs also struck and scored for the first time of the year.
“We are a relatively younger team. We only lose five girls next year, so it is very exciting to see how much the program will continue to grow over the next few years,” said coach
The Women’s team will venture to CIF Field 1 to take on the 2-1 Waterloo Warriors on October 2.
Nicholas Blasiak, Assistant Sports Editor