By: Sarah Silvester
The Thunder men’s and women’s rugby squads are off to an impressive start after back-to-back wins at their Sept. 15 season openers.
The women kicked off the Sunday afternoon double-header with a decisive 45-0 victory against the St. Lawrence Vikings.
Team captain and hooker Robyn Quade said the win sets high standards. She said they are telling the rest of the league, “we’re here, we’re back, we’re ready, and we’re gonna see them in the finals.”
Sporting newly-unveiled uniforms, Algonquin dominated the competition in the first half, leading 20-0 at the break.
Algonquin shut down a rallying effort from the Vikings in the second half and scored an additional five tries on their way to the Thunder’s first shutout of the season.
The defending Ontario Colleges Athletic Association co-champions were reluctant to compare themselves to last season, but admitted that they are confident.
Head coach Dan Gauthier said he’s very confident for this season. He admitted that there is still work to be done, but that the core of the team is strong.
“It’s a bit of a different cast, but similar mantra.” Gauthier said that the win shows the team is picking up where they left off last November.
The men’s team posted an impressive 37-5 win after a hard-fought game against the Vikings.
The Thunder exhibited excellent offence, showcasing powerful running and accurate passing to keep the majority of the play within the Vikings’ 22-metre zone.
Despite aggressive try-line defence by St. Lawrence, Algonquin was able to score seven tries and kick for one conversion.
Physical play was a constant throughout the game. A torn calf muscle sidelined eighth man and second-year civil engineering student Phil Assad early in the first half.
Tempers flared after Algonquin scored their sixth try, and the official warned both sides against fighting.
St. Lawrence was able to post a single try late in the second half, but Algonquin recovered to score a final try and secure the win.
Jennifer Jelley, mother of prop Ryan Surgenor, who scored ten points in the game, spoke about the team’s win. “I think the first game showed that they have a lot of stamina,” she said. “They’ve got a lot of potential.”