The Brock men’s rugby team is looking forward to a season of growth according to head coach Phil Sullivan.
The Badgers finished sixth out of 10 OUA rugby teams, and had fly half Steve Commerford, Ryan Hickey and Jeremy Brownridge named OUA all stars in 2017.
The team had a large class of first years this past season and Sullivan is expecting them all to make a significant impact at the OUA level entering their second year with the team. Sullivan is also excited to see the senior members of the team grow into leadership roles as they mature and develop over the season, utilizing their previous years of experience to help the new players understand what is expected of them.
“The best thing about coaching at this level is seeing players grow, and this season will be an exciting one for that,” said Sullivan.
Some of the senior students Sullivan is excited to see come into their own this season include George Bocock, Tim Sullivan, Zach White, Christian Grillo and Zach Zorbas. Sullivan mentioned that the players take a lot of pride in Brock rugby and become great leaders on and off the field. There’s a lot to get excited about in the younger members of the team with Commerford, Carter Bondy and David Froome, who Sullivan believes have the potential to be All-Stars at the university level.
Commerford in particular had an eventful summer after being named to Canada’s U20 Rugby team, although an injury resulted in him having to miss out on the international competition and likely part of the OUA season. That being said, Commerford is still utilizing this experience to benefit his team, attending camp to offer his opinion on plays and drills even as he heals.
Sullivan certainly doesn’t rule out being surprised either, citing such “undiscovered gems” as Ray Barkwill (currently playing for the Seattle Seawolves of Major League Rugby and for the Canadian National team) who attended Brock and developed beyond expectation with the team.
Rugby is ultimately a team sport, and Sullivan recognizes this. No one player can win a championship on their own.
“All 15 players on the field work all the time to achieve their goal.” said Sullivan.
The team will have to come together if they want to improve upon last year’s impressive 5-3 season, the best record for the program since 2014.
The Badgers have a lot of potential for improvement before their first game on September 2 at Alumni Field at 1:00 p.m.
“This year’s team will be fast and physical which will translate into a high energy, entertaining season for hardcore rugby fans and casual spectators alike,” said Sullivan.