By Tyler Follett
The Thunder men’s rugby team produced a dominant display in the final game of the regular season, defeating the Fleming Knights 65-15, Oct. 27, 2013.
A quick start was key for the Thunder, as they scored a try early on from which Fleming could never recover.
“After a little bit of a rough first 10 minutes and first half, the guys finally started to play their game,” said Geoff Tomlinson, head coach of the Thunder.
“They got Fleming frustrated, and started running at them hard, straight ahead rugby.”
Tomlinson points to their direct style as one of the keys to their success thus far, in a season in which they’ve had a lot of it.
It was a complete team effort by the Thunder, who had 11 different players record a try each, in a game that saw many subs see the field.
“Carl Williams and Chass Maracle (both flankers) played fantastic,” said Tomlinson.
The victory caps an undefeated season for the Thunder, as they head into the postseason with a 6-0 record, good for first place in the East Conference.
“There’s nothing fancy about our game. We have a lot of skill and we have a lot of speed and when we harness that good things happen, as we saw today,” said Tomlinson.
The game was played at Twin Elm Park in Nepean, after a last-minute change due to lines on the original field not being visible.
It was a chippy affair, with two players sent off for the Thunder, putting them down a couple of men.
“Clearly, down two men, they took responsibility, and we also brought in all our subs and they raised the level of the game, they gave us the little bit of energy we needed,” said Tomlinson.
The team continued to do a great job after the ejections, while continuing to carry the play and score. Defensively, they managed to stick to their game plan to frustrate any Fleming threat.
“Down two men, we kept the ball in our forwards’ hands, and our forwards just worked extremely hard and made up for being two men short,” said Jonathan Blodgett, a first-year winger.
The Thunder will be entering the playoffs on a high after handing Fleming just their second loss of the season, with the first coming in the school’s previous meeting.
Looking ahead, the Thunder get a bye into the semi-finals for finishing first in the East conference.
On Nov. 9 they will play in the semi finals, where they will be playing the winner of a Nov. 2 match between Georgian College and Trent University.
“We’re in the East, so we really don’t know about the quality of the West Conference, aside from that Humber is the best,” said Tomlinson.
“We want to play Humber.”