After a crushing 49-8 loss to the Trent Excalibur on the road in early October, the Algonquin Thunder men’s rugby team looked to rebound in a big way.
And rebound they did – winning 38-5 against the third-place team, the St. Lawrence Vikings on Oct. 18.
In the Thunder’s loss to Trent, the Excalibur were simply more fit than Algonquin’s home team, suggested head coach Geoff Tomlinson.
“I was humbled as a coach,” said Tomlinson. “Because my teams are usually equally if not fitter than the opposition.”
“That was the first time in many years that’s actually happened, so hats off to Trent.”
He also suggested that his players understood that and now have made a commitment to stronger fitness.
For first-year fullback Liam Kelly, it’s all about composure.
“We wanted to play this game as if we were actually playing Trent,” said Kelly. “We have a pretty good game plan now and a good confident mindset going forward.”
Kelly is in the top 12 in scoring this season in men’s rugby, completing three tries, one conversion and a penalty kick for 20 points in four games played this season.
At one point in the game, wing Adam Weatherhead had an interception around the 30-metre line and sprinted it all the way to the goal line to complete the try. This was one of the plays that received the loudest reaction from the crowd, bringing the score to 20-5.
The Thunder’s final tally of 38 points was their second-lowest scoring game of the season. However, the point-differential and the Vikings’ one try is notable.
“Although we had yellow cards, we scored on them,” said Tomlinson. “We had a really good goal line stance.”
The Thunder had an issue with yellow cards during the game, as well, tallying four for the sin bin, perhaps because the coach had asked the players to go out and be more aggressive.
Going forward, the team will also have to work on their warmups before the game and come out stronger.
“Clearly we were not able to play in the first 20 minutes,” said Tomlinson. “We better figure (the warmup) out because some of the teams in this league are very good. We’re not going to get that lucky twice.”