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Windsor's Machine men lose home opener, look to rebound this Saturday against PEI


WINDSOR, N.S. — The Windsor Hants County Rugby Football Club were bumped up to Division 1 status this season and they're looking forward to showing fans of the sport just how strong of a club they are.

The Machine, as they're more commonly called, were a Division 2 team in the three-division league.

“They did a whole shake up,” explained Warren MacLeod, a coach with the Machine, of the changes within the Nova Scotia Rugby’s men’s league.

“Instead of having three divisions, they split it into two. They basically tore apart the Div 2, put a bunch of them up and kept a bunch of them back. We were one of the lucky ones to get bumped up,” MacLeod said, adding that the Dartmouth PigDogs are another club that are joining them in the top tier of play.

Team captain Axel Lawrence said the home opener was a good test for the team to see how the level of competition increased.

“The game was certainly closer than the score indicated,” said Lawrence. “We had a lot of young players get their first taste of Div 1 rugby and hold their own.”

The Machine hosted the Halifax Rugby Football Club at King's-Edgehill School July 13 and lost 36-12. It was their first game of the season.

Lawrence said the factor that will ultimately determine the team's success is commitment to practicing the drills.

“But it's clear that if we want to truly compete in Div 1 we need commitment at practices not just games,” said Lawrence. “I thought we tackled very well on defence but Halifax retained possession well and capitalized on their chances where we showed a bit of inexperience at times and weren't able to put phases together and build any sustained pressure.”

MacLeod said he was impressed with how the team gelled on the field July 13, and believes they have what it takes to go far this season.

“I think our pack is really, really solid,” said MacLeod.

Highlighted players from the home game included David Lee, who served as the team's No. 9.

“This was the first time he played scrum half. I thought he played fabulous. He was the guy who got the first try,” MacLeod said.

“We've got our grinders — the guys that are in there every day, every game: Matt Foster, at flanker, Axel (Lawrence) at No. 8, Jesse Lawrence at No. 7 and also a flanker. Our front row is solid: Matt Peil, Nathan Lake, Ben Brown and Adam Roebuck,” he said.

If the team practices hard, especially their lineouts, MacLeod said they could do quite well this summer.

The team is hosting the tough PEI Mudmen July 29 at King's-Edgehill School at 3 p.m. On Aug. 20, they’re slated to travel to Truro to take on the Saints at 1 p.m. The Machine will then travel to Pictou on Aug. 26 for a 3 p.m. bout, and will host the Halifax Tars on Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. and the Enfield RFC on Sept. 10 at 1 p.m.

 

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