On Saturday September 17 both Brock Men’s and Women’s rugby teams welcomed the Guelph Gryphons for Homecoming gameplay at Brock’s Varsity Rugby Field. The Brock Men’s team was going into the game after a convincing victory over the Toronto Varsity Blues 34-19 and an overall record of 1-1. However, the Gryphons have a well-established and decorated rugby program. They entered Saturday’s matchup with a recent 18-12 victory over the defending OUA champions, the Queens Gaels, and an undefeated 2-0 record.
The game started off slow for our Badgers as the Gryphons’ physical dominance led to three tries within the first 13 minutes. The Gryphons maintained ball possession for the majority of the first half through their use of speed, low driving upon contact, ball support, offloads and aggressive rucking. Throughout the entire contest the Gryphons managed to avoid too many knock ons despite the wet weather conditions and completed precise passes at key moments when plays began to break down. By the end of the first half the Badgers were down 41-0 but they didn’t let the scoreboard effect their performance. Despite their opponents’ tenacity, the Badgers started off the second half in an explosive fashion. The Badgers managed to steal the ball off of the opening kick and threatened to score with multiple impressive runs by center, Peter Westlund. Things started to click more for the Badgers as they settled into their offense creating chemistry through solid running and passing between Nabeel Imtiaz and Camron Edwards.
Midway through the second half, the Gryphons drew a penalty inside their own half and the Badgers capitalized by kicking the ball out a few meters outside of their opponent’s try line. The Badgers’ efforts were then rewarded as they drew the Gryphons into successive rucks then quickly swung the ball out wide to Imtiaz who scored the well deserved try. This try gave the Badgers confidence and they finished the game looking more comfortable on the field. The end result was a 67-5 victory for Guelph.
“On the field we need to work for the full 80 minutes, not just 20 here and there. It’s a mental game, if you get down a few tries you have to keep your head in it,” commented fly half, Nathan Boeyenga after the game.
The Badgers also focused on the positives that they can take away from the game. “Our defense was structured and it was definitely improved from last weekend,” said prop, Patrick Nguyen. The men’s team will look to pick up a win on the road and regain a .500 record against the Laurier Golden Hawks on September 25.
The Brock Women’s rugby team went into their homecoming matchup with a 0-1 record. The Badgers were coming up against an undefeated Guelph team who were also last year’s OUA conference finalists.
“We’re a developing team and we’re going up against a really physical team this game so our game plan is to go in with one hundred per cent intensity like we have been in practice all week,” commented hooker, Alysha Angrilli, before kick off. The Badgers certainly stuck to their game plan as prop, Chelsea Brathwaite, set the tone for the match by delivering a massive opening hit.
As the game progressed winger, Vanessa Cifuentes, made several clean tackles preventing many Gryphon rushes from translating into tries. Cifuentes was awarded “Lady of the Match” by the Gryphons for her intensity throughout the competition. Unfortunately, the Gryphons did find gaps in the Badger defence and used their physicality to score often. The Badgers fell 117-0. They will welcome the Western Mustangs on September 24, where they will look for their first win of the season.
Nicholas Blasiak, Assistant Sports Editor