Hoping to make a statement against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or, the Stingers rugby team came up short in their home opener on Friday night.
“We put ourselves under a load of pressure and we didn’t need too,” said Head Coach Clive Gibson. “We did not play according to our game plan.”
The squad had prepared for a more positive start to the season, but it was clear that this is still a young roster.
The speed of the back line is one of the Stingers strongest assets. Unfortunately, the ball rarely made its way towards them in this game due to many penalties and dropped balls. Concordia was unable to retain ball possession and an abundance of unforced errors cost the team their first game of the season.
While the offensive side of the ball wasn’t clicking, the defense handled itself very well. They were constantly being threatened but managed to fend off the opposition for the majority of the game.
The lack of discipline was also a problem for the Stingers. They received two yellow cards which cost them a player for 10 minutes on both occasions.
“Being short a man for 20 minutes of the game makes it very tough to win,” added Gibson.
Concordia managed to play well throughout the first penalty by applying a lot of pressure. On the second one, the defense was strong.
In the later stages of the match, Sherbrooke capitalized over a tired Stingers team, scoring a try in the final 10 minutes of the game to put them up 14-13. This would become the final score of the game.
Concordia will not have much time to practice this week as they play on Wednesday against rivals McGill. The team will look to improve on decision-making with the ball, their game plan and teamwork.
“The level of play is too high,” added Gibson. “If they don’t learn to play as a team, they’re never going to win, not at this level.”
This loss, however, was not perceived as a back-breaker by captain Dario Pellizzari. He said this loss should not be viewed as a step back in the squad’s progress, but rather a stepping stone for the greater challenges that await the Stingers in the next few weeks.
“Fortunately we have another seven games in the season to pull ourselves together and make a cup run,” he said. “This loss may prove to do us [good] in the end.”
The game against McGill on Wednesday is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Concordia Stadium.