The men’s rugby team was forced to learn some tough lessons last season when they won just a single match over the course of nine games. They’re off to a better start this year, despite dropping their third game 24-5 against Laurier. The Badgers are now 2-1 on the season.
The homecoming game saw the Badgers play in front of the largest crowd of the season. While a homecoming win would’ve been ideal, Laurier was able to capitalize on small mistakes to outscore the Badgers. The ball was moved and passed effectively but the physically smaller Badgers sometimes struggled to create space.
“When we moved the ball into space, which is what we wanted to do, we did very well,” said head coach Phil Sullivan.
Winger Liam Boyenga scored Brock’s only try with 10 minutes remaining in the second half to prevent a Golden Hawks shutout. The Badgers failed to convert on the kick.
Laurier was 0-2 coming into the match, but Sullivan knew that they were more than their record and tried to prepare accordingly.
“Laurier, even though they’re 0-2, are a very strong team and they’re a big physical team so they came at us very physically and very constantly. We have to improve on how we defend on that,” said Sullivan.
The majority of players starting on the field for Brock are returning players. The confidence, experience and desire to have a better season is evident.
“The players who were here from last year are much more focused. They took the lesson of last year to heart and dedicated themselves to have a better season,” said Sullivan.
Last year’s team was incredibly young with only a few veterans to guide the way, however this year the team consists of players who’ve been in the position before. There’s an even mix of fresh talent and experienced players.
“It’s a lot of the guys who were here last year who got better, who committed themselves to having a different year than last year, and being reinforced by some new talent,” said Sullivan.
The Badgers have set a standard for themselves: be better than last year. Important to that success is the relative health of the team. Last year’s team was young out of necessity, as a handful of injuries kept veteran players on the bench and pushed rookies onto the field. One of the more notable injuries was Steven Commerford’s, a lower body injury kept him off the field for the entire season. Commerford has started every game for the Badgers so far and shows no signs of slowing down.
The Badgers will be playing Royal Military College (RMC) this coming weekend. They played RMC in their final game of last season, which was a frustrating game for them, one that they wanted desperately to win. RMC won that game 39-29.
“We have to travel to RMC and that’s always tough. Once we think about this game and get the film from this game it’ll help us prepare for RMC because it won’t be a very different game,” said Sullivan.
RMC have long been known for their physical play. Their players are big and strong and if the Badgers aren’t careful, they’ll be able to use that to their advantage and dominate the field.