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Men’s rugby lose lopsided tilt to McMaster

Toronto’s grit not enough to unseat Marauders
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The Blues record drops to 0-4. RAKHSHAN PIROOZ/THE VARSITY
The Blues record drops to 0-4. RAKHSHAN PIROOZ/THE VARSITY

The Varsity Blues men’s rugby team dropped their fourth straight match of the season, losing 56–12 against the McMaster Marauders at Varsity Stadium on September 28.

The Blues found themselves trailing early at home as McMaster notched a try just two minutes in after a line out deep in Toronto’s end. After a penalty 35 yards out from Toronto’s endzone, McMaster attempted a kick for points as opposed to the traditional scrum. The conversion was good, and 10 minutes into the game the Marauders jumped ahead to 10–0.

The Blues started to inch their way up the field, maintaining possession of the ball as they slowly forced McMaster further back. After a tense, multi-phase cycle within McMaster’s defensive zone, Blues’ Tudor Chirila smashed his way into the endzone. He then narrowly missed the conversion on a tough angle.

The back-and-forth affair continued, with McMaster scoring a third try in the 21st minute.

Toronto showed their defensive prowess when they successfully held up and prevented a McMaster try. Unfortunately, they were unable to prevent the subsequent play, and the Marauders jumped ahead to 24–5.

McMaster also got a try off a line out maul, and the Blues headed into the half down 34–5.

The physical match started to wear on the Blues, who gave up numerous penalties to the pressing Marauders. Despite the widening score line and growing fatigue, Toronto showed feisty try line defence, thwarting numerous McMaster attempts with crushing tackles, composed defensive lines, and quick plays on turnovers. Notable Blues of the match included Sangeeth Prakash, who often needed multiple McMaster players to be taken down, and Michael Morgan, who caused trouble to McMaster’s rucks all game.

Toronto fought valiantly until the final whistle, never bowing their heads in spite of the widening score line and voracious McMaster squad. The Blues attempted to gain ground and space with each time they secured the ball. Their efforts finally paid off when two Blues players charged a McMaster kick in the endzone with scarcely a minute left to the game. The ball deflected off their hands and into the air, where Alvin Pane easily plucked it out and scored. Chirila was successful on his conversion attempt this time around. However, it was too little too late, as McMaster took the game 56–12.

The Blues are heading to Peterborough next week, where they search for their first win of the season against Trent on October 5.