Rugby centre enjoys winning with the Stingers
The centre position in any sport is crucial. The player occupying this role must be as involved offensively as defensively. Charles Debove is that centre on the Concordia Stingers men’s rugby team.
“He’s like the father of the group,” said Stingers head coach Craig Beemer about Debove. “I don’t even think we’ve remotely come close to seeing the best of what Charles has to offer this year, which is obviously a compliment to him.”
Debove, originally from Nice, France, is in his fourth year with the Stingers and fully enjoys his experience.
Debove’s first two years with the Stingers were challenging due to injuries and coaching changes. A torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in his left knee forced the centre to miss most of the 2016-17 season. According to RSEQ statistics, Debove was limited to two games that year, finishing his season without a point. The Stingers went 1-6 that year and allowed 243 points, the most in the league.
“I went back to training for six months before getting back for my first game,” Debove said. “It was super stressful. The contact was hard in my first game back because I wasn’t used to contact anymore. That’s rugby. If you didn’t play for six months, you’ll feel it a lot.”
The 2017-18 Stingers season was nothing like their previous one. They won all their regular-season and playoff games before winning the RSEQ title. They lost to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and the McMaster Marauders in the national championship. According to Debove, last season served as a learning experience for what’s ahead this year.
“That’s where it all started,” Debove said. “For sure, we faced two major forces in Canadian rugby. It was hard for us because we were not ready, but now we are and that’s our goal. We try to see further while remaining humble and as competitive as we were last year.”
Debove was a big part of last year’s success. Finishing the RSEQ season with nine tries and 45 points, he was named game MVP three times. He was also recognized for his performances, earning the RSEQ MVP in men’s rugby and being named in the RSEQ’s first all-star team. For the France native, his teammates have a lot to do with his success on the field.
“I can’t talk for myself,” Debove said. “I must talk for my team because they are the ones who make me shine. We help out each other and that’s how we win games. The three times I got the MVP last season, I was just playing my game. However, it’s still a team game.”
“They’ve really put me in easy situations,” he added. “We also have a system that is really expanded, so it gives us a lot of spaces and options.”
Debove still admits he was honoured to received the awards last season.
“I just think I gave my best last year,” Debove said. “It was cool to receive this RSEQ’s league MVP. It was a great honour.”
Debove spends a lot of time with his teammates, and he cherishes those moments. He explained that, even off the field, he is always with at least one other teammate.
“We’re here together like five times a week,” Debove said. “This is something we can’t find with another team, or with our provincial teams.”
“We also watch videos because we’re doing this seven days a week since we’re in the season,” he added. “After, we learn from it and adjust because everybody knows our plays. We always need to adapt and change things.”
According to Debove, these efforts are essential if the Stingers want to achieve more success than last year.
“We need to be prepared for what’s coming,” he said. “We first need to win the RSEQ title, and then we go to the nationals. It’s in the way, but we need to complete all the steps.”
So far this season, Debove has three tries in four games. The Stingers are currently ranked first in the league with a 4-0 record.
Main photo by Hannah Ewen.