On a chilly but cloudless late autumn day at Fletcher’s Fields in Markham, the Brock University Badgers celebrated their first-ever Ontario University Athletics men’s rugby championship. The Badgers defeated Queen’s University 22-6.
Queen’s got on the board first, in just the second minute when scrum-half Bryn Davies made good on a penalty goal for a 3-0 lead. Brock took the lead when Mark MacSween linked with Rory McDonell. Fullback McDonell drew two defenders before passing the ball to winger Daniel Ropp, who scored the try. The conversion missed as Brock led 5-3.
But the lead was short-lived as Queen’s went in front in the 23rd minute, with another Keys’ penalty.
In the final minute of the first half, Cregg once again made a huge line break deep into Queen’s end. The Gaels were able to defend but conceded a line-out to Brock in their 22. The Badgers made the most of it. From an ensuing ruck near the goal-line, scrum-half Adam Schouten popped to Cameron Mitchell running on the blindside. The lock was over and Brock took back the lead. The conversion missed so it was 10-6 for Brock at the break.
In the 72nd minute, a Brock line-out close to the Queen’s goal-line saw the Badgers drive a maul over the line. The try was awarded where MacSween had driven over. Brock led 15-6 with the conversion going wide.
Three minutes later Brock was back in Queen’s 22 with good possession. This time winger Matt McIlvaney was able to weave through Queen’s ragged defence to cross near the posts. McDonell converted and Brock opened the lead to 22-6.
“Both teams played extremely well,” commented Brock coach Les Gilson after the game. “Our defence really came to play today. Queen’s has so many weapons: great forwards, good backs. Our defence just stepped up today.” Asked what the the first provincial men’s rugby title meant to Brock University, Gilson was unequivocal as he put into perspective. “We’re ecstatic. Five years ago we didn’t even have a program.”
In the bronze medal game, the University of Western Ontario Mustangs edged out the McMaster Marauders 23-22.