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Concordia disappointing in win

by Archives September 23, 2008

“It was hugely disappointing, I don’t know what else to tell you. We deserved to lose. It was a disappointment from the opening whistle to the last whistle.” Not what you’d expect to hear from the coach of a women’s rugby team who just upped their record to 2-1. But all Concordia Stingers head coach Graeme McGravie could do was watch from the sidelines as his team fought an uphill battle that should have been a cakewalk.
The Stingers women’s rugby team slipped by the Sherbrooke Vert et Or Friday night with a narrow 5-0 win.
The game started with Concordia looking shaky, but managing to maintain possession. Stinger forwards rucked the ball well and made it available to the backs who clocked in the yards with short gains. Within 10 minutes, Concordia was on the scoreboard. A wheeling scrum resulted in a golden opportunity for the ladies when rookie fly half Erika Hamilton coordinated a blindside play to fullback Jenny Rosenbaum who weaved her way into the end zone. The Stingers were up 5-0 and that was where it remained.
Inability to tackle by Concordia let the Vert et Or get away with atrocious passing and weak pick and gos. It wasn’t long before Sherbrooke was at Concordia’s doorstep and were using their weight as leverage. “Tackling was a huge issue for us tonight, but to be fair they outweigh us by about 60 to 80 pounds. But it’s not an excuse for poor tackling,” said McGravie. Concordia was saved by the bell in the first half as time ran out with Sherbrooke on the five-yard line.
There were strokes of brilliance in the first half, however few and far between. Flanker Vanessa Ng saved a try by coming up with a bone-crunching tackle. Passing between Ng and Sarah Nesbitt used post-lane passing to relieve pressure. Virginia Klinkhoff used her brains to strategically push players out of bounds and used her brawn to take down forwards twice her weight.
Concordia snapped out of their stupor in the beginning of the second half and came close to scoring again. Forwards were quick in getting to rucks and manipulating the wheeling scrums. Eight man Adara Borys worked well with scrumhalf Melanie Tranchemontagne to free up the ball and send it to the backs. Concordia had a clear shot at the end zone when Lorrie-Ann McDonald broke through, but literally dropped the ball.
As much as Concordia pushed, Sherbrooke pushed back harder. “We just assumed that they would fold and they didn’t, we were just going to walk all over them, but obviously that’s not what happened,” said Tranchemontagne, who is also the Stingers’ captain. Sherbrooke attacked all over the field and marched downfield. Concordia was forced to repeatedly make try line stands to stop the Vert et Or. Momentum was with Sherbrooke – waves of tackling halted the Stingers attempts to relieve pressure. The Stingers were slow getting up after getting dragged by the stocky Vert et Or players.
A lack of communication and demoralization plagued the Stingers late in the second. “It was a particularly silent game,” said forward Claire Hortop. “I would take a huge hit any day over getting pushed back in a scrum because it really breaks down your spirit.”
Despite all the doom and gloom, Concordia did win the game. They currently sit in third in the league behind McGill and Laval. McGravie smirked and said, “it’s like a get out of jail free card, which we played tonight and we definitely needed it.”
The Stingers come out of this game looking for revenge. They travel to the nation’s capital to face the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Sunday at 1 p.m. and Tranchemontagne is one player who is looking forward to it. “We’re going to work so hard that I feel sorry for Ottawa already.”

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