VICTORIA- The University of Guelph Gryphons defeated the New Brunswick Ironmen by a score of 62-14 to finish fifth at the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship presented by title sponsors, Victoria Mitsubishi and Carson Automotive Group, and corporate sponsors Pemberton Holmes Ltd. and the Canadian Rugby Foundation.
Guelph suffered two disappointing losses to the UBC Thunderbirds and Concordia Stingers during pool play that knocked them out of medal contention.
“It is a bittersweet feeling,” said Guelph head coach Cory Hector, in his third season at the helm. “It’s nice to get the win today but overall still a bit disappointed with our performance throughout the tournament. Unfortunately, in this tournament if you don’t perform one day it can take you out of it entirely.”
Gryphons fly half Aria Keshoofy was named the player of the game for Guelph after setting up numerous tries and successfully kicking three of his five conversion attempts.
“Aria was one of our guys who wasn’t happy with how things have gone for us in the tournament and I thought he responded with his best game so far and was rewarded with the man of the match,” noted Hector.
The Ironmen finished the tournament with their best offensive output of the championship, something head coach Andrew DuPlessis new would come after they adjusted to a higher level of competition than they are used to facing.
“We need to keep competing at this level if we want our guys to get better, not only for our team but for all teams from the Maritimes,” commented DuPlessis. “Once we saw our guys adjust to the speed of the game out here, we saw so many aspects of our game and systems finally rounding into form.”
“I think this tournament is a great opportunity for university rugby in our country and it will remain important that teams from the Atlantic provinces continue to attend so we can keep growing the game back home,” added DuPlessis.
It took only two minutes for the Gryphons to get on the board after driving down the field Gryphons lock Mac Kea scored for an early 7-0 lead. After Guelph added a second try from winger Riley DiNardo in the 15thminute, the Ironmen got their first try of the match when centre and player of the game for UNB, Kyle Patterson ran through a gap after the Ironmen had driven down the field to the Gryphon’s 5-metre line.
Flanker Marcello Wainwright and winger Julian Crowe rounded out the scoring for Guelph in the first half as they carried a 24-7 lead going into the break.
The Gryphons added six more tries in the second half. Centre Dalton Campbell and prop Guershom Mukendi logged their first tries of the game while DiNardo touched down his second and Wainwright picked up two more tries for the hat trick.
New Brunswick hooker Ron Llena scampered 20-metres in 58thminute after pouncing on a loose ball to finish off the scoring in the match with the final score reading 62-14 for Guelph.
The bronze medal game between the Victoria Vikes and Concordia is set to kick off at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Centennial Stadium in Victoria while the gold medal match between the UBC Thunderbirds and the Queen’s Gaels is scheduled for 1 p.m. Following the final the Tournament XV will be presented.