Photos by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor
Tyler Gagne is a fourth-year centre on the McMaster men’s rugby team. He plays an instrumental role on the team, not only through his strong defensive presence, but also through his role on the team leadership group with five other players. This group includes veteran players Tyler Gagne, Clay Pendakis, Ryan Matthews, Jack McRogers, Cole Brown and club captain Megh Rathod.
In their season opener, Gagne had a pair of tries which led to him having one of the top performances that game. Even with his success, Gagne remained humble and highlighted key performances from the rest of the team.
“I just go out there and do what I can for the team,” Gagne said. “It always feels good to have a game like that, but a couple of other guys had great games in that game too it wasn’t just me. Our whole team played really well, it’s hard to pick one performance out.”
This year will be one where the men’s rugby team plays their heart out. They have an outstanding team and are determined to leave an impression on Ontario University Athletics rugby.
“We believe we can medal. We believe we should go five-one based on the season [and] hopefully we can win all six. Other than that play the best rugby we can, enjoy it and have a great year,” Gagne said.
One of the defining contributions to the success of the team is team culture. The maroon and grey challenge the idea of a traditional team in the sense that they are more than a group of highly-skilled individuals who play a sport together. Of course, they do fit that mold, but they are also a family.
“The team we have is one of the best I’ve ever played on. All the guys are super close. There are no disputes on the team, no conflicts, everyone just loves each other and we go out there and play the best rugby we can. Which really helps on the field obviously,” Gagne added.
Growing together and knowing when to put the team ahead of their own needs has been instrumental to their success.
“I’m one of the older guys on the team, I’m in fourth year. There are a couple of other fourth years on the team, not too many but we’ve been together all four years and all the guys we’ve been coming up with have bought into the system and we’ve all come together to be a great team. It’s easy when guys come into the team and buy right in right away,” Gagne said, “It’s super easy to get along with everybody. Nobody has too big of an ego which is nice and we all get along really well and it’s a great culture.”
One of the main things that sets apart the men’s rugby team is their unique but effective approach to leadership. Having multiple people share the load of guidance brings along many advantages. For example, communication on and off the field can be more coordinated. Simply put, it is a strategy that seems to be working wonders for the marauders. For their next game they will take on Trent University on Sep. 21 where they look to improve their record to two wins and one loss.