By: Andrew DiRienzo

The Thunder men’s rugby team suffered their first loss of the season Sept. 30 against Seneca College, losing by a final score of 21-0.

It was a back and forth game for much of the first part of the game as neither team scored until the 20-minute mark when a try and subsequent conversion put the Sting up 7-0.

The Thunder now head into the break looking to refocus and get back on the winning track.

“I look at [the break] as a new camp,” said head coach Geoff Tomlinson. “Instead of getting familiarized with each other though, we’re just training for the rest of the season.”

“While it would be a better feeling going into the long weekend after a win, the loss will really help focus the team for the following week of training,” said back, Alex Anglin.Tomlinson said there were definitely some things that needed refinement, and the players knew it too.

“I had a meeting with the players after the game,” Tomlinson said.

“I talked about what they needed to work on. They knew what they needed to work on and they knew they needed to improve.”

Tomlinson said he was pleased with the team for improving on their tackling and defensive line speed – something he said they needed to work on going in to the game and said “they improved 200 per cent” in those areas.

He added that it was clear what needs to be polished before their next game – ball handling.

“Our hands weren’t the greatest,” said scrumhalf, Brian Hue. “We had a lot of dropped balls.”
Tomlinson said he was pleased with the team’s effort against a squad which he described as being much bigger than normal.

He said the size of the Sting players also helped him realize what else the team needs to work on going forward.
“We need to play a bit more of a wider game, running the ball to the outside more, when playing against a big team like them,” he said.

Tomlinson was also pleased with his team’s physical ability against the Sting.

He said they were giving up a fair amount of weight, but they were still able to tackle them hard.

“I don’t think they were expecting that from us,” he said.

For most of the game, rain was falling – picking up its intensity as the game went on, which made for slippery field conditions and difficult handling of the ball.

Anglin made no excuses for the outcome, however.

“The weather is never an excuse in rugby,” he said. “Both teams have to play in the same onditions, and at this level, it’s the team that makes the least amount of mistakes in those conditions that will take the game.”

Tomlinson said despite the loss, he is confident in his team heading down the stretch and into the playoffs.

He said their willingness to work hard and their commitment to get better is very positive.