OAKVILLE, Ont. - There were more than a few tense moments down the stretch - like when they had two men off for yellow cards and Algonquin and climbed to within eight points - but the Sheridan Bruins men's rugby team (6-1 OCAA) were able to pull away, handing Algonquin a 29-14 defeat and advancing to the OCAA semi final next week.
"Overall I thought we played pretty well. Defensively, I'd say we played well for about 60 minutes, but unfortunately it's an 80 minute game," head coach Rick Bria said. "We've gotta be tighter and we've got to come up as one. For most of the game, we played pretty good defence. We hit them behind the gainline a few times, which was amazing, but we need those kinds of efforts from everybody, not just one or two guys."
Jad Hamade opened the scoring in the 10th minute, after the Bruins won a scrum at midfield and strung together a series of passes.
The second Sheridan try came in the 21st minute, when Algonquin's Mark Petro knocked on the ball and tried to kick it to safey, but it was snagged 12 metres from goal by Hamade who dished off to JP Munro for the score. Hamade's conversion was good to put the Double-Blue up 12-0.
That would be the scoreline at the interval, but it proved to be a hard-earned one for the Bruins as Sheridan - with Munro and Andrew Zandona both in the sin bin - had to work to relieve great pressure.
In the 50th minute, Hamade tacked on a penalty kick to make it a three score game, 15-0.
Munro would score his second try of the day (54th minute), taking an Owen Schimpl pass and sliding through a quartet of Algonquin would-be tacklers before evading Petro 18 metres from the goal line.
Algonquin scored pair of tries in less than 10 minutes (57th and 66th minutes) to trim the margin to eight, with the Bruins leading 22-14.
Sheridan was under heavy pressure but was able to re-gain possession and Schimpl booted the ball from just inside the Bruin half, to set up a line out inside the Algonquin 22.
Alex McCallion - who had just come back onto the pitch from a yellow card - passed off to Schimpl, and when the Algonquin defence collapsed on him, Schimpl passed off to Justin Tota, who brushed off an arm tackle before scampering in to touch it down.
Hamade rounded out the scoring with the ensuing conversion.
The victory propels the Bruins into an OCAA semi final showdown against Fleming, travelling there on Nov. 4 (4pm) and Bria has two very specific focuses for his club leading up to the contest.
"Defence and fitness," he said. "We need to bring our fitness up a little bit more and we definitely need to tighten up our defence, because Fleming's not going to be a push over by any stretch."