For the fifth year in a row, the Queen’s Gaels will play the Guelph Gryphons for the Ontario University men’s rugby championship.
The big game for the Turner Cup will be played on Sunday, Nov. 11, at Queen’s Nixon Field in Kingston beginning at 1 p.m.
“Guelph is a good team and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Gaels’ fifth-year senior Brendan Blaike.
“Guelph plays a hard style of rugby,” added Blaike, who hails from Markham.
“They like to run, they’re physical, and they have some big and talented athletes. We need to weather the storm in the early going and trust our systems. If we do that, we should be able to take control of the match.”
Queen’s, under head coach David Butcher, have been unbeatable. His record with the Gaels is 17-0 over two seasons.
“He’s been a real game-changer,” said Josh Engelbrecht, a second-year Gael from Oakville.
Queen’s has dominated Ontario University rugby. With a victory on Sunday, the Gaels will capture the Turner Cup for the seventh time in eight years.
“We have such a winning culture,” added Engelbrecht.
“Were in the middle of campus and everyone knows about the rugby team. We have such a great reputation. We recruit the best players from around the country and we have the best coach in the country. They are the biggest reasons for our success.”
Queen’s beat the Gryphons in Guelph earlier this season 40-13. It was their toughest game of the season. For Blaike, it will be his final OUA contest, and his last game at Nixon Field.
“This is the best rugby pitch in the country,” added the veteran hooker.
“There’s nothing better than playing on this field. It’s right in the middle of campus and we get tremendous fan support. It will be my last game here and hopefully, we can pull out another championship.”
Queen’s beat Waterloo 59-16 to reach Sunday’s title game. Guelph defeated Laurier in their semi-final match, 34-26.
Despite the outcome on Sunday, both teams will qualify for the national championships in Victoria, B.C., on Nov. 21-25.
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