The wind and the rain couldn’t slow down the Concordia Stingers men’s rugby team during their semifinal game on Sunday against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or. They won the game 23-13, giving them a place in the finals against McGill on Friday, Nov.22.
The game started off with a three-point lead for the Stingers within the first five minutes after captain and leading try-scorer for the season, Joseph Fulginiti, kicked for a penalty. Sherbrooke worked their blindside excellently and managed to score a try eight minutes into the game, after a well-executed pick-and-go. After successfully scoring the conversion, Sherbrooke brought the score to 7-3.
Sherbrooke clearly had the upper hand in scrums and rucks—their forward pack was strong and unwavering. However, Concordia made up for their slight lack of strength with amazing lineouts. Marc Roche, the first jumper in the Stingers lineouts, barely missed a single thrown ball and managed to steal several lineouts from Sherbrooke.
“Our lineout was very strong, Alfredo Cosentino was throwing great ball given the weather and [Roche] was a huge threat in the lineout and with ball in hand,” said Fulginiti.
Stingers powerhouse rookie flanker, Andreas Krawczyk, proved his spot on the starting lineup this week by getting involved in three back-to-back plays within the first 15 minutes, “If the 14 players around him can bring their game up to [his] level this is going to be a great win for Concordia,”said Scott Gill, former Concordia rugby player and commentator for Stingers rugby Webcasts.
The Stingers managed to score another two penalty kicks before the end of the first half, leading the game 9-7.
In the second half of the game, Concordia seemed more confident with their plays. The weather was a severe detriment but it didn’t stop Nick Smith, the maroon-and-gold scrum-half, from making expansive passes from scrums and rucks and sending the ball flying towards the backline. Stingers winger, Caleb Jordan, had amazing speed as usual but couldn’t find the breakaway that the Stingers needed to score a try.
Fulginiti answered a Sherbrooke penalty kick with one of his own a bit more than halfway through the second half, making the score 12-10. Five minutes later, the Stingers were setting up for yet another penalty kick when the Vert et Or got another penalty, which got the Stingers 10 metres closer to the try line.
After bringing the score to 18-10 with another two penalty kicks, making that the Stingers’ sixth penalty kick with no try, Sherbrooke scored one of their own, bringing the score to 18-13.
After a very successful driving maul resulting from a classic Concordia winning lineout, the Stingers scored their first try all game with mere seconds left on the clock, bringing the score to 23-13, securing Concordia’s spot in the final playoff game against McGill.
“For the final we will go through our normal routine, treat it like any other game,” said Fulginiti, “watch the film of the past game, watch film of McGill and begin to game-plan.”
Concordia will be playing McGill in the final game of the season on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. at Molson Stadium.