The rain came down with a vengeance on Friday night, much like the Concordia women’s rugby team, shutting the University of Ottawa down 41-5.
Ottawa was, however, a force to be reckoned with. This was made obvious during the warm-up when they strapped on their pinneys and played an opposed five-minute game before Concordia even had their jerseys on. They showed off their hard, low hits that would have made a prop flinch.
Despite the poor weather, the Stingers were still able to keep control and push the Gee Gees to their limits. The game started off slow but picked up pace when Con U scored its first try in the first 10 minutes.
Ottawa scored their first try in the second half with 12 minutes left. They were not able to make the conversion kick to bump it up to a seven-point gain.
Concordia definitely felt the heat Ottawa brought to the pitch. After a series of fumbled balls and useless passes, they made it on the right track and started playing like a true pack. The wind and rain made simply holding the ball harder not to mention trying to pass it from scrum half to fly half. It was evident the Stingers have been practicing their lineouts, scoring twice off of a perfect drive. They also dominated both scrums and rucks, pushing Ottawa over the try line with ease.
“I think we excel in open play,” said head coach Graeme McGravie. “We have some real players there in Bianca Farella and [captain] Jackie Tittley.”
This was proved when Farella, with barely two minutes left in the game, broke through the pack and ran 50 yards to the try line, scoring their last try of the night. Tittley was tripped during the second half and struggled to get up. She did, however, come back into play and join her teammates, kicking a heartbreaking conversion that bounced off the goalposts.
As for the future, McGravie says he’s confident in his team’s ability to make it to nationals.
“Based on preseason and the opener, I expect us to win the league,” he said. “Although, beating McGill and Laval is going to be tough for sure.”
The Stingers have not played Laval yet but recently beat McGill 18-7 in the Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup. Concordia is currently sixth in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport rankings, right above McGill and two below Laval. Considering Concordia’s impressive undefeated record in league play, it should not be hard for any player to envision themselves at nationals.
Concordia’s next game is against Bishop’s on Friday, Sept. 28 at 6:15 p.m.