While Labour Day festivities raged on the McMaster campus, the Marauder men’s rugby team was on its first road trip of the young Ontario University Athletics season, battling the RMC Paladins in Kingston to a 36-24 opening campaign victory. McMaster had built a commanding 29-point lead and then held on to thwart an RMC comeback bid.
Rookie Casey Bouk led the Marauders with two tries on Monday, while Connor Mabbott, Matt Nicol and Graham Dobbs each contributed a try.
The home side opened the scoring in the first half, pushing the scrum into the endzone and converting for a 7-0 lead. But a penalty minutes later allowed James Leveridge to bite into that deficit with a three-point kick, and he was in the middle of things once again when his cross-field kick found Bouk in stride, and the rookie carried in for the try to snatch the lead for McMaster.
Bouk continued to shine in his first competitive appearance, jarring the ball loose with a thunderous hit and allowing Mabbott to steal and break the plane for McMaster’s second try of the match. With momentum now firmly in their favour, the Marauders added to their tally before halftime, as Mitch Lisanti broke the line and dished to Nicol for the team’s third try and a 22-7 lead at the interval.
Lisanti played the role of creator once again as the teams resumed play, finding the rampant Bouk, who crossed the line for his second try of the afternoon. Taking advantage of a man-advantage, the Marauders scored their final points of the afternoon when Mitch Salisbury broke through the line and found Dobbs on the run, who crossed into the endzone to extend McMaster’s lead to 36-7.
Three successive tries from the Paladins made things interesting in the closing stages, but the Marauders’ lead proved insurmountable as they went on to win their first match of the season.
McMaster returns to action on Sunday, Sept. 7, when they travel to Waterloo to take on the Warriors. That match is slated to kick off at 3 p.m.