STU struggles against cross-campus rivals

Jesse Reynolds makes one of the Tommies’ many tackles during St. Thomas University’s season opener. University of New Brunswick won the match. (Billy Cole/AQ)

On Sept. 8, the St. Thomas Tommies’ men’s rugby team kicked off their 2019-20 campaign against the University of New Brunswick Ironmen, in the latest installment of the Battle of the Hill. It was a physical, heated match, one that saw the Ironmen take an early lead and win 34-0.

Head coach Curtis Lauzon is entering his third year with the team. He said that despite the final results of the game, it was a positive start to their season.

“A lot of little things went well,” Lauzon said.

“It was good to see them translate to the field.”

The Ironmen scored early in the game, taking possession of the ball off a lineout that was deep in the Tommies’ defensive zone and running it down the left side of the field. UNB was unable to convert the kick, keeping an early lead 5-0.

STU struggled to take possession back, as UNB was able to brush off the Tommies’ aggressive defense and their strong tackling. Finding small gaps in the Tommies’ defense was a key in the Ironmen’s offensive outbreak, as they went into the second half with a comfortable 20-0 lead.

The Ironmen brought their quick style of play into the second half but the Tommies were able to stay sharp and make their tackles.

The Tommies will play their next game Sept. 22 against the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers. (Billy Cole/AQ)

Newcomer Connor Burtt stood out in his Tommies and his rugby debut as well, landing several tackles.

“He’s brand new to rugby,” Lauzon said.

“I’m going to check the tape, but it was probably around a dozen, or more, tackles in the game. That’s pretty impressive.”

Burtt’s impressive play wasn’t enough to stop the Ironmen. UNB was able to rack up their number of points a little more, defeating the Tommies 34-0.

“Obviously it wasn’t the result we wanted … we feel we’re a team that can go after some victories this year,” Lauzon said.

“So that’ll get our work up.”