The Conestoga Condors rugby squad played its third game of the season last night against the Seneca Sting. It was a hard-fought game, but Conestoga suffered another defeat, losing 43-19. The match was held at Bill Struck Field in Cambridge, Ont.
The Condors lost their first game against Sheridan 48-28, which started the season on a sour note. Since the first game, the Condors have lost two in a row, which gives them a record of 0-3.
When head coach Greg Dawkins was asked how the team can improve after three straight losses, he said: “It’s up to them. At this point it’s up to them. We’ve done what we can to show them the game. It’s up to them to do a gut check for Tuesday to be ready for Wednesday.”
The Condors next game will also be at home against Mohawk College on Wednesday, Oct. 10, when they hope to win their first game of the season. Dawkins has been coaching the team for four years, and he also attended Conestoga College and played for the rugby team. Dawkins was on the team when they won an Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCCA) bronze medal. He believes it is up to the players to put this team back on the right track.
“Their own worst enemy is themselves,” said Dawkins. “Everyone is new to the sport, so we’re at a disadvantage there, but they are all athletes. Like I said before this is like a sport for misfit toys — if you’re an athlete and you want to go out and go hard, then you can win games.”
Conestoga had their work cut out for them as their first two games were against the top two teams in the West Division. Both Georgian and Sheridan are 3-0 this year, and Georgian went undefeated last season with a 6-0 record.
Todd Erskin, the assistant manager of athletics and recreation said: “With men’s rugby, it’s a small division. There’s not a whole lot of games right now – we are in Game 3 of the season. We played two of the powerhouses, Georgian and Sheridan; one is the defending champion, and one is the defending silver medalist, so they definitely had their work cut out for them in those games.”
Erskin has remained positive despite the losses the team has endured: “Now it’s nice to get to another home game against Seneca, who’s a good team and we’re right there in the standings with them so, definitely a big game.”
Erskin believes the schedule works in the Condors’ favour due to the fact there was a bye week; the team has had some time since the second game, the coaches did some video sessions and intensified practices. The Condors also got a few healthy players back on the roster, so the team is staying positive and is working on strategies for next game.
Matt Rein Gruber, a flanker and new member on the team, loves them.
“It’s pretty fun. All the guys are really nice — they are trying to help me learn the game more, because obviously I am the smallest guy on the field. They are super helpful and super nice,” said Rein Gruber.
Rein Gruber believes there is a lot the team can improve upon.
“Just put more effort in. Practices are looking OK. We can have more effort,” he said.
Another player, Max Marienwald, who plays lock, says it has been a tough season so far.
“Lost the first couple games — the first game we started to come back; second game we just didn’t have it in us,” he said.
He agrees with Rein Gruber and believes the team needs to make some improvements, especially in the area of communication and teamwork.
“We aren’t going out as a team right now. It has been more individual. I think as the season progresses, we’ll start doing a lot better.”
The rest of the team’s schedule can be found here.