The Dinos men's rugby club failed in their quest to retain the Western Intercollegiate Rugby Championship crown despite a courageous fight in the second half of the trophy match against the University of Alberta Sat., Oct. 22. The boys from Edmonton took home the big trophy, holding on to win 57-24.
To reach the trophy match, the Dinos had to defeat the University of Lethbridge Fri., Oct. 21. The U of A earned their spot by beating Mount Royal College.
Before Saturday's game, many of the Dinos' less experienced players felt daunted by the occasion. The nervous anticipation was heightened by the large crowd and sound of bagpipes as one of the Dinos' players skirled for his teammates before kickoff. Having played the U of A once already this season, the Dinos knew that they were facing an experienced squad with several imposing six-footers on their roster.
The U of A were first to settle into the match after a cagey start. Their breakthrough came 10 minutes into the game and they seemed to score at will from then on. At the end of a dismal half, the U of A had scored seven tries while the Dinos only managed one, courtesy Dan Chirkoff.
Whatever Dinos coach Dave Lougheed said to his players at halftime was motivating; the Dinos came out flying after the break. Fifteen minutes into the second half the Dinos' energy paid dividends when skipper Joel Woodfin scored. The U of A immediately replied with a try of their own, but the Dinos came back to score twice in a row.
Zac Burrows powered his way under the posts after a lack of discipline from the U of A gifted the Dinos valuable yards. Then, Neil Cosco was rewarded for his constant running, finding his way through the U of A's stout defense.
In the end, however, the Dinos' fight back wasn't enough, and the U of A held on after scoring again in the dying minutes.
Our Dinos were left to rue their first half collapse that cost them so dearly despite their strong showing after halftime.
"If we'd played like that in the first half, it would have been a pretty even score," lamented Woodfin.
The WIRC was the Dinos' last home game of the season, but the club might travel to British Columbia over reading week to compete.