Women’s rugby yet to win

Patricia Lee

In their second home game of the season, the Lions women’s rugby team failed to achieve their first season win. With five first-year rookies in their starting 15 players, it can’t be easy. Playing against the nationally ranked Queen’s Gaels, the Lions needed more than teamwork, determination, and drive to score a try, let alone win. The Lions’ only points came from a penalty goal made by fullback Zoe Smith.

The day’s rainy weather presented a battle through tough conditions, where messy passes and dropped balls often occur. From the first kickoff, ball handling was untidy and disorganized on both sides. York managed to bring the ball back up to the half-line within the first minute. The Lions held out in the first 20 minutes of the game, where both teams took turns in offence and defence positions near their 10-metre lines.

The Gaels’ strength was seen in their scrums, getting the ball out fast to their backs. Though the Lions’ determined defence held the Gaels’ ability to score for a few minutes, their messy lineout at the five-metre line allowed the Gaels to steal the ball, get it out fast to the left wing, and score the first try.

The rest of the first half was a challenge for the Lions. Captain Tiera Thomas-Reynolds, a two-time OUA All-Star and key contributing player of the game, got in a few great runs, but not before
the Gaels scored three more tries and two conversions. The Lions failed to stop Queen’s from finishing on top in the first half, making their lead on the scoreboard 24-0, with Gael Andrea Wadsworth having scored two of the four tries.

The second half didn’t start off any better. The Gaels got in a good run past the Lions and quickly scored to the close left of the posts. Their strong kicker Bronwyn Corrigan contributed another successful conversion kick. Though the beginning wasn’t in the Lions’ favour, they did bring in overall better plays and defence in the second half of the game.

They went for a penalty kick, where the Lions earned their first and only three points of the entire game. The Gaels had another close encounter with the try line after they had a lucky run through a big gap in the Lions’ defence. Luckily, the Lions kicked it out of their zone and ended up near the five-metre line. By this time, they had put on the pressure and spent a good six minutes near the Gaels’ try line. The Lions put up a good fight until it was touched down by a Queen’s player in their own end zone, forcing the ball out of play. The rest of the game saw the Lions rely on solid teamwork to hold off the Gaels well until the end.

Overall, the Lions had strong rucks, winning the ball over and over again and easily getting it out to their offensive back players.

“[The Lions’] rucking was phenomenal. We lost more than 25 per cent of our rucks to them,” says Gaels’ captain Susan Heald. “Their breakdowns were amazing. After this game, our whole team is going to have to work on our rucking because of them, that’s for sure.”

Though their second half showed the Lions’ real determination and skill, the team needs an overall to improve if they want to move up in the OUA standings. The Gaels’ forwards drove the Lions a few feet back at times. Heald advises they work on their scrums specifically.

“Their scrums were low,” she says, “but they need to work on their drives in the scrum.”

Although the team was successful after training to improve their defence and posting guards, they need to see more consistent efforts. Lions’ first-year rookie Sarah Campbell is one of the starting 15 and earned an invite to Canada’s under-20 Ontario identification camp last year.

“We need to make sure we have the heart,” she says. “What’s the word? Drive, ambition? The ability to get up and go, no matter what.”

The Lions seek out their first conference win against Trent Excalibur, September 30 at 7 p.m.


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By Excalibur Publications



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