Recruits bring winning attitude to Mac rugby

It’s said defending a championship is harder than winning one, so with that in mind the McMaster men’s rugby team looked for championship pedigree in its 2011 recruiting class.

Three members of the 2011 AA Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations champions from Barrie Central Collegiate have pledged to wear maroon this fall, and will be joined by a former provincial team player from Pickering. Arriving from Barrie are Connor Patterson, Mac Chown and Braden Atkinson, while joining the program from Pine Ridge Secondary School is Taylor Wilenski.

“Our coaching staff is delighted to have attracted three, fine, young graduates in Connor, Mac, and Braden from perennial rugby powerhouse Barrie Central,” said McMaster coach Phil White.

“Coached by Marauder alumnus Ron Andrews, BCCI consistently turns out highly skilled rugby players. Joining them will be multi-talented Ontario Junior player Taylor, who has a very mature game for a young man his age.”

Aside from their high school success, this year’s recruits have some outstanding experience. Patterson has represented Ontario at the U18 level, winning the 2010 National Championship, and he will join his brother Ben on the Marauder team. Chown previously represented Canada at the U17 level, while Wilenski played for Team Ontario last summer.

Coach White will be returning to the Marauder sideline this year, after missing the 2010 season while on a research leave. Looking forward to the fall, White believes defending the Ontario University Athletic title is a reasonable goal.

“Our philosophy for many years has been to recruit character more than talent. Once again we have been fortunate to have attracted a stellar group of young men to McMaster.”

The Marauders open the 2011 OUA season at home on Wednesday, Sept. 7 against Royal Military College. Game time on the 10-acre field is scheduled for 3 p.m.