Rugby teams go into season with high hopes

St. Thomas' rugby season previews are gearing up for a new season after a tough final games last year. Both teams fell short to the UNB Ironmen and women at the end of the season. (Photo by Shannon Cornelius)

St. Thomas’ rugby squads are gearing up for a new season after tough final games last year. Both teams fell short to the University of New Brunswick Ironmen and women at the end of the season.

Now, the men’s team has high spirits under the direction of new head coach, Curtis Lauzon, and are setting new goals for the season.

Lauzon stressed that, although he is the new head coach, some things will remain in place for the Tommies. That includes former head coach Jon Wilson’s emphasis on what it means to be a student athlete.

“We will emphasize the fact that they are both students and athletes and encourage them to excel at both,” Lauzon said.

“We have however added additional focus on the on-field side where we would like to make a push for a Maritime Championship.”

Lauzon said the team will have a tough schedule this year, playing their rivals UNB twice this year in October.

“UNB will be our biggest rival but the other teams will definitely be tough competition,” Lauzon said.

The men lost to the University of Prince Edward Island on Sunday 58-7.

The team’s first home game will be on Sept. 22 against Mount Allison University.

The women’s rugby team had its first game against UNB on Friday night.

The first point was scored by UNB in the first minutes of the game. They were able to score off a kick off by STU, leaving the Tommies down early in the game.

Later, a hard push by UNB earned them another try in the first half. The Tommies then began to fight harder and kept the game at a stalemate into the second half.

The game was called shortly into the second half due to weather leaving the score 15-0 for UNB. This is the second year in a row the first game has been cut short due to thunderstorms.

“It is unfortunate that the game was cut short,” said the women’s head coach Meghan MacAfee. “I felt that we were starting to build momentum just before the game was called.”

MacAfee felt very good about the game. She felt the team reacted defensively to stop UNB in the first half.

“I know that this young team will continue to improve as players get to know each other and continue to work better together on the field,” she said after the game.

The team lost nine senior players last year and are relying on a lot of rookie players.

Cheyenne Ladd, a fourth-year prop, said she feels good about the season, despite losing so many seniors.

“We are a confident and happy team,” Ladd said.