Starting rookies could be Mac’s rugby signature

The McMaster men’s rugby team expects to be back in the hunt for another Ontario University Athletics championship in 2012, and coach Phil White has assembled a group of recruits he believes will help push the Maroon and Grey into contender status.

“The recruiting process and outcome this year has been very rewarding and I am extremely excited about the group of athletes who will be joining Marauder rugby this year,” White said.

“For many of this group their pedigree is carved out from their prior memberships on our Canadian Junior teams. Others have different backgrounds, from having played for Canada’s Rugby League team, to having fairly recently switched from representative soccer.”

Committed to attend McMaster this September are seven outstanding high school players:

White believes the range of skills from the incoming group will be a perfect fit with the solid roster of returning veterans.

“Three players excel in the decision-making positions. The key fly-half position was an area of concern in 2011,” noted White. “Both Graham Dobbs and Jamie Leveridge excel at that position while also being capable of playing elsewhere. Two of our newcomers add significant size and grit to the roster.

Kyle Ondrey

“Kyle Ondrey, Athlete of the Year at Lorne Park High School, comes in at 6’ 2” and 230lbs, while Jake Moreau, a flanker, goes 6’ 2” and 210 and has a much-lauded work-rate. Kieran Hurst from the OFSAA champion Streetsville Tigers is well-sized at 6’ 6” and is ready to make an impression. Richard Ormrod is a talented open field runner, while Matt Rafaelic can play both as a punishing ball carrier and, at 5’ 9” and 200lbs, can mix it up with the big boys.”

Despite having won six OUA titles in the past decade, McMaster has routinely used first-year athletes in the starting line-up. White says that trend could well continue in 2012 with this group of recruits.