Remi Drouin, Sports Reporter
The dreams of the Hawks men’s rugby team winning the championship after a four-year hiatus fell short against an undefeated Georgian Grizzlies team at the OCAA semi-finals on Nov. 3.
They are instead going for the Bronze Nov. 9 against the Seneca Sting.
This was Humber’s first rugby season since the 2015-16 season after being suspended for a hazing incident.
The Grizzlies are now going to the finals in a home game at J.C. Massie Field against the Durham Lords on Nov. 10.
With the wind blowing and temperature dropping as low as 3 C, both fans and players were in for a grueling battle during the Hawks and Grizzlies game.
The Grizzlies got on the board first with a pair of tries. Humber responded with a try and long conversion to cut Georgian’s lead to three.
Both teams added a try each before the end of the first half vaulting the Grizzlies in front 15-12.
With 15 minutes left, Georgian extended their lead to make the game 22-12, but all eyes were on Humber to make something happen with their gold medal hopes on the line.
First-year wing Curtis Sandiford did just that when he ran downfield and punched in a try, and the Hawks converted to bring them within three.
However, that would be all that Humber got and Georgian took the game 22-19.
“The guys gutted it out until the end,” Hawks head coach Fabian Rayne said. “They didn’t give up and they played for each other.”
Even with the loss, Rayne was proud of the team.
“I told them to keep their heads up, we have another game next week and although this one will hurt, we’re a young team and we’ll learn from this,” he said.
First-year lock Robert Tekse said anyone who thought Humber wouldn’t have gone this deep is kidding themselves. The team has a long history of winning, including a nine-year streak of winning OCAA gold.
“People might think we shouldn’t have made it as far, but we’ve put in a lot of work, even as a new team we’re all really skilled players,” he said. “Once we were able to come together and bond, it was bound to happen.”
Rayne was happy with his team’s performance but knows there’s plenty of room for improvement.
“We need these guys to play more rugby,” he said. “A lot of these guys like rugby, but they have to commit to it all summer and come in here ready so we’re not teaching how to catch and pass.”
Tekse said although the loss is disappointing, the progress this team has made is amazing.
“To get this far, in our first-year back, is just unreal,” he said.