CFRC Sports-Queen's Women's Rugby Progress to Usports Championship After Rainy Semifinal Match Against the Western Mustangs

October 23, 2023

The rain fell hard under the lights at Nixon Field Friday night as Queen’s Women’s Rugby took on the
Western Mustangs in an OUA semi-final. The conditions played their part early, as it looked to be a
gruelling, back and forth affair in the game’s early stages. Both sides were victim to (ball) handling errors
which kept the game tight, limiting the expansive attacking system we are accustomed to seeing from
Queen’s this season. After an early try courtesy of the prolific outside centre Rachel Cullum which put
the Gael’s up 5-0, the contest hung largely in the balance for over 20 minutes of tense play.

However, the biggest story of the first half would not be the weather or turnovers, but a dominant
Queen’s forward pack. The Queen’s scrum, led by a front row of Jayne Armatage, Maddy May and
Tattyannah Jackson proved a complete mismatch for Western, winning numerous scrum penalties which
lifted the team and the crowd. The efforts of the forwards would quickly have their rewards, with the
experienced number 8 Maggie Banks scoring a few phases after a lineout to extend the Queen’s

When it rains, it pours for the Western Mustangs, as Banks would score 3 more unanswered tries for
Queen’s before the end of the first half, including a try stolen off a Western scrum where Banks ran half
the field to score in the corner. Queen’s defensive efforts to keep Western scoreless in the first half are
also worth a shoutout, as Queen’s went into half time with a hard fought and well earned 31-0 lead.
Carrying their dominance into the second half, the attention demanded by the Queen’s forward group
freed up for some gorgeous champagne rugby by the backs, with fly-half Taylor Perry floating a perfect
chip kick over the Western defence for fullback Jaden Walker to run onto and extend the Gaels’
advantage. It would be 15 minutes before another try was scored— and by who else but Carmen Izyk,
who complimented her OUA-leading 8-try regular season with a 50-yard dash for a score. OUA regular
season points leader Lizzie Gibson showed her class again from the kicking tee, adding 5 conversion

In the end, a 76 th minute try by Western would be nothing but a consolation, as Queen’s held on
against late pressure to win 45-5, booking their ticket to nationals at Laval University in the process!
Special shoutout to Maggie Banks for her 4 tries, huge tackles, and dominant performance in the
maul—a truly special all-round performance by the #8 from Coquitlam, BC.

Queen’s Women’s Rugby will now look forward to an OUA final for the 6th consecutive season, this time
against fierce rival the Guelph Gryphons. When these two sides met earlier in the season, only a Rachel
Cullum try in the final minutes was the difference in a 25-20 Queen’s victory. With qualification for
nationals secured and a huge test of an OUA final, there is a lot to look forward for Queen’s Women’s
Rugby in the coming weeks.

Story by Ian Donaldson, Friday, October 20, 2023