Hosts beat Gee-Gees 52-3 in snowy game at Concordia
The Concordian Stingers men’s rugby team beat the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees 52-3 at Concordia Stadium, Saturday night. This is the second consecutive year the Stingers finish the regular season with an undefeated record.
Heavy snowfall and a temperature of just two degrees made conditions tough for the Stingers, but third-year fly half Moritz Wittmann knew the weather would be more of a mental battle than a physical one.
“You’ve got to keep it tight,” Wittmann said. “You don’t try and make any big passes or fancy plays. You have to keep moving, bounce up and down, run everywhere,” he added. “It’s an incentive to work harder.”
The Stingers started off strong, as they forced the Gee-Gee’s into a turnover off the beginning kick, and began to show Ottawa why they haven’t lost in conference play since 2016.
After the Gee-Gees stopped them from scoring for a few minutes, the Stingers eventually broke through for a try in the 11th minute, and quickly followed it up in the 15th, to make it 14-0. The Gee-Gees made a push towards the Stingers’s goal, but after a lengthy stand on the goal line, Concordia held Ottawa to a kick conversion, their only points of the night.
The Stingers’s physical play was on display, just as head coach Craig Beemer hoped. “It’s part of the game plan; we needed to make a physical statement,” Beemer said. As the weather conditions became a factor, Beemer knew that his players would be able to control it. “When it comes to rising to challenges, there’s good on-field leadership that really steps up.”
After another try late in the first half, the Stingers ended the half with a 19-3 lead. As the night went on, the weather began to worsen, and that’s when the hosts began to take advantage of a very cold environment. Several large carries by Concordia began to break down Ottawa’s defensive effort, and broke through for five tries in the second half.
Despite the undefeated regular season, Beemer still maintained there is work to be done in order to win another championship. “We’ve got a lot of returning guys from last year’s squad,” Beemer said. “They know the size of the challenge that is coming, and that the quality of the league has improved significantly from last year. [There will be] no complacency from these guys,” he added. “They were asked to take a step forward and dominate some collisions, and make a statement going into the playoffs.”
Wittman mentioned that, in order to see that same success in the upcoming playoffs, they need to take it one step at a time. Last season, the Stingers lost both games at nationals, which aren’t part of U Sports. Wittman said they use their loss as motivation: “We’re definitely more hungry. Other teams are coming for us.”
The Stingers will try to defend their championship title when they play the Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or on Nov. 3 at 2 p.m, in the semi-final.
Main photo by Hannah Ewen.