Varsity Blues rugby team fights for possession during Wednesday's game. SEAN SMITH/THE VARSITY

The sun was blazing hot at Varsity Stadium during the University of Toronto’s Varsity Blues men’s rugby team’s season opener against Wilfrid Laurier University’s Golden Hawks on September 7. The home team didn’t shine as brightly though, ending up with a tough 24–38 loss.

During the first 19 minutes of play in front of a small crowd of spectators, the Golden Hawks scooped up three quick tries and conversions thanks to swift passing and dodging, starting-off the game with an early 0–19 lead.

Following a water break, U of T got itself on the scoreboard with a try by third-year Jack Davidson and a successful conversion by first-year Mati Gordon, bringing the score to 7–19.

After Laurier stole possession during a line-out, the Varsity Blues fought back, gaining their second Davidson-driven try and Gordon-kicked conversion, making it a one-try game.

With the ball changing hands multiple times before half-time, the Golden Hawks mustered a messy try after two deciding scrums only yards from the try-line. An unsuccessful conversion left the score at 14–24 after the first 40 minutes.

The back-and-forth continued. After the break, the crowd’s enthusiasm increased as it was obvious that the Blues were in need of a pick-me-up.

Five minutes into the second half, U of T settled for a penalty goal by third-year Scott Maguire, but Laurier soon struck back with third-year Ryan Gamm’s second try and second-year Samuel Goffin’s third conversion, raising the score to 17–31.

With less than 15 minutes left in the game, the Blues managed to scrape through Laurier’s defensive line following a close scrum, landing themselves a try and a conversion.

Despite U of T’s smooth 8-man pick up and pop pass to the scrum-half, the Golden Hawks stole possession, broke away, and locked down another try and conversion, securing a final score of 24–38 for their first victory of the season.

The Varsity Blues’ next game takes them to St. Catherine’s on September 11 to face-off against Brock University’s Badgers, starting at 1:00 pm.

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