UTM emerged victorious over defending champion Saint Michael’s College in the intramural men’s rugby finals Sunday at Back Campus. The game was the first time UTM has reached the intramural final, and the 17–24 win ensured it would also be the first time they claimed the winner’s cup.
The game started well for the Mississauga Eagles, as they scored the first try after winning a scrum, only a minute into the game. The subsequent transformation gave UTM a 0–7 lead. During the next few minutes, both teams tried their best to gain ground and score, but the impressive defenses ensured that play was restricted to the centre of the field.
Only nine minutes into the game, UTM’s number 11 kicked the ball behind Saint Mike’s defence line and, after recovering it, scored his team’s second try. The Eagles’ fullback attempted transformation failed, leaving UTM ahead 0–12.
Despite falling behind early on, the Saint Michael’s players did not lose their control or the will to defend their trophy. After some intense minutes of struggling for the ball, Saint Mike’s fly-half managed to outstrip the opponent’s defence to scored a try which he transformed a minute later. Just 15 minutes into the game, the score read 7–12.
Saint Mike’s number 12 scored a second try minutes later to give his team a lead of 14–12 at the end of the first half.
The second half proved even more, with Saint Michael’s scoring another three points six minutes in. UTM continued to try to reply, but Saint Mike’s imperious defence managed to keep them at bay.
UTM’s number 2 finally broke through to score a third for his team, leaving both teams tied at 17 points apiece.
As the game wore out, both teams played hard rugby in an effort to get ahead. Only one minute before the final whistle, UTM scored and transformed a final try, bringing the score to 17–24.
“It was a good hard fought game; UTM really deserved to win,” said John Robb, the intramurals manager who handed the trophy to UTM’s Eagles, Saint Mike’s dean, Duane Rendle concurred. “I watched almost every game Saint Mike’s played [this season], and we were really good. Both teams came undefeated to this game, but since we did not play UTM during the regular season, we did not we really know what to expect.
We were not prepared to play them, and they caught us early. Of course, we fought back and we got ahead, but in the end, today they were just a little bit better.”
UTM’s first championship means a lot to the Eagles’ coach and player Kasim Baluch. “I am so happy: I have been coach for three years now, and every year it gets better. This is our first finals and our first cup.”