Mohawk hopes to convert unbeaten rugby record into gold

There will be a sense of déjà vu this weekend as the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association winds up its 2010 men’s rugby season.

Four rugby clubs will compete at Fletcher’s Fields in Markham on Sunday (Nov. 14) with gold, silver and bronze medals at stake.

In the highly anticipated gold-medal match, the undefeated Mohawk Mountaineers (7-0, 1-0 playoffs) tangle with the Humber Hawks (4-3, 1-0 playoffs) for the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Division I championship beginning at 11:30 a.m.

This is a rematch of last year’s gold medal game, in which Mohawk pulled out a victory on a last-second try, edging Humber 16-15.

Since that match, the Mountaineers have reeled off eight consecutive victories against OCAA competition, including two wins over Humber. But the Hawks have come the closest to providing Mohawk a taste of defeat, losing 29-24 on Sept. 25 before dropping a heartbreaking 8-7 decision on Oct. 28.

The Mountaineers average margin of victory during the regular season was 33 points.

Stopping Mohawk may be a simple (or as difficult) as stopping Chris VanSickle (Brantford). The second-year centre led the league in scoring for the second straight year with nine tries, 28 converts and seven penalty goals for 122 points, 49 more than his closest pursuer. These totals don’t include the one try and seven converts he scored against Trent in a 54-17 win in the semifinal last Saturday.

Humber’s leading scorer during the regular season was first-year flyhalf/fullback Phil Boone (Brampton) with one try, 10 converts and two penalty goals equalling 31 points. Second-year winger/fullback Jordan Reid (Ajax) led the Hawks with six tries for 30 points. Combined, Humber’s two top scorers produced only half the points VanSickle accumulated. Humber reached the gold medal game by virtue of a 30-0 victory over Seneca on the road last Sunday.

Seneca (4-3, 0-1 playoffs) will square off against Trent (4-3, 0-1 playoffs) at 10 a.m. on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s bronze medal game, won by Seneca 17-15. Both schools split their regular season series in 2010, with Trent winning at home 25-18 on Oct. 2 while Seneca defended home turf with a 21-12 victory on Oct. 28 to clinch first place in the East Division.

While there will be familiarity at the men’s rugby championship, the same cannot be said of the women’s final taking place at Humber College on Saturday, given that it is the first ever to be played in the history of OCAA.

The Humber Hawks (4-0, 1-0 playoffs) host the Seneca Sting (3-1, 1-0 playoffs) for OCAA bragging rights. This is a rematch of the regular season finale between these clubs, won by the Hawks at Humber 22-7.

Women’s rugby was added to OCAA for the 2010 season and is going through a two-year trial period before it is accepted as a fully-sanctioned sport in 2012.