After an undefeated 2017 season, the Concordia Stingers men’s rugby team started the 2018 campaign with a win. They beat the Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or 66-7 Friday night at the Concordia Stadium.
“I think we had a really good two-week [training camp] leading up to this,” head coach Craig Beemer said after the game. “We had a lot of returning starters and we had a lot of leaders from last year coming back.”
The Stingers got off to a hot start, with a try in the opening two minutes, and a second coming five minutes later. The Stingers had a 19-0 lead by the time the Vert et Or first had control of the ball inside the Stingers’s half, 15 minutes into the game.
“We really didn’t have to start from scratch,” Beemer added. “We just sort of built on the momentum we had from last year.”
The Stingers were forcing the Vert et Or into making multiple mistakes, and had many interceptions in Sherbrooke’s half of the field. The Stingers took control of the game with four tries in ten minutes midway through the first half.
The game started to get physical when Concordia’s lead grew to over 40 points late in the first half. A Vert et Or player didn’t like the way a Stinger tackled him, and a few jabs were thrown each way. The Vert et Or managed to scored in the first half, but the Stingers were up 45-7 at halftime.
“Believe it or not we didn’t actually do what we really wanted to do in the first half,” Beemer said. “We just had an emotional, testosterone-filled first half where we saw that we have a lot of talented players.”“I still think we could play better with the ball, and when we have overlaps, to use them and not just try to run over the opposition. It worked tonight, but doesn’t always work,” the head coach said.
The Stingers didn’t score as much in the second half, but the physicality increased. The Vert et Or had more possession of the ball, but the Stingers were strong defensively, stopping them on every opportunity, which frustrated their opponents.
For an eight-minute stretch in the second half, Sherbrooke constantly had the ball between Concordia’s five and 10-yard line, but couldn’t score. The referee stopped play multiple times for fouls.
“We had that scrum there where nobody was playing rugby,” Beemer said about the incidents.
In total, the Stingers scored 10 tries, while Stingers’s Jonathan Banks was successful on eight of 10 conversions.
The Stingers men’s rugby team’s next game is Sept. 21 away against the École de technologie supérieure (ETS) Piranhas.
Main photo by Hannah Ewen.