The Stingers women’s rugby team did not disappoint in getting to the RSEQ playoff finals. Last year, they were defeated by the Laval Rouge et Or 43-27. This year, the maroon-and-gold had to overcome the McGill Martlets in the semi-finals. The game was played on a rainy Friday night at Concordia Stadium.
Within five minutes of the first half, the Stingers scored an early try and successfully converted the ensuing kick to go up 7-0.
At the midway point, the Martlets took advantage of a Concordia penalty by scoring from a kick. Concordia’s lead was narrowed down to 7-3 as the half came to a close.
After the Stingers missed a kick at 9:30, they were on the attack once more two minutes later. They threatened the Martlets by finding gaps in the defense and by cycling the ball around well. Concordia’s aggressive play with possession saw the team within a few yards of the try line. McGill managed to recuperate and stopped ConU on the goal line.
The half ended without any more points. Concordia took a slim four-point lead into the break.
The final 40 minutes were quite similar to the first. Both sides continued to trade possession until Concordia finally found a break with 15 minutes to go. The Stingers managed to get the ball down to the McGill five-yard line, but a penalty saw them unable to score any points.
In the final 10 minutes of the game, the visiting Martlets upped the pressure and started to make their way down the Concordia half. McGill were desperate to take the lead and a good passing play saw them on the Stingers’ 20-yard line. Concordia’s defense once again denied their rivals’ progression and regained possession.
With 4:30 minutes left, Concordia fans were finally able to breathe easier; a mistake in midfield made by McGill left Stinger Frederique Rajotte with space and a clear path to the try line.
The game ended 12-3 in favour of the Stingers.
“You always want to score first and put points up when they give them to you,” said Stingers head coach Graeme McGravie about the early try. “I was really happy we executed there, but I was a little upset we took the pedal off after that.”
With Laval’s win on Saturday in the other semi-final, Concordia will have a chance to avenge their slim five-point loss on Oct. 12 to the Rouge et Or. The final has massive implications as Laval defeated the Stingers in last year’s playoffs. Since 2007, Concordia still has an advantage by winning the playoffs three times compared to Laval’s two RSEQ championship wins.
“We thought we should have won last week,” said McGravie. “We know that we lost the game because we lost it and not because they won it from us. I feel great going to next week.”
The RSEQ finals will be played Saturday, Oct. 27, 1:00 p.m. at the University of Laval’s Stade Telus. The game will also be broadcasted online.