Men’s rugby goes undefeated two years running
A successful three-point penalty kick by the Stingers with six minutes left to play made the difference in what was a really tight game from start to finish. The Gaiters controlled most of the first half, scoring first on a try from Robert McGovern. They led 14-12 at halftime.
“We weren’t really happy with our ball skills,” said Stingers head coach Craig Beemer after the game. “We were playing a little too loose and made extra passes. We really focused on our body height [in the second half]. We made sure in contacts that we were holding on to the ball.”
The game was played in windy conditions, which led to dropped balls and even missed penalty kicks on both sides.
“We knew there would be a lot of wind today,” said Stingers’s back row Zachary Pelletier. “The kicks have been so important today for our teams. We had to work hard until the end.”
That win against the Gaiters also confirmed back-to-back undefeated RSEQ seasons for the Stingers. They haven’t lost a game since October 2016, when the Gaiters beat them in overtime of the quarter-final.
— Alec Brideau (@alecbrideau) November 10, 2018
“There’s a lot of work that goes into this,” Beemer said. “It’s really a long process. I have a lot of coaches who did an amazing job and, more importantly, I had 50 players, on a weekly basis, working hard to get better.”
Beemer said his team’s depth has grown in his three years with the Stingers, and has played a big role in the back-to-back titles.
“We’re also not really looking at what other people are doing, but looking internally [at] how can we get better every day,” Beemer said. “Winning is a result, but that’s all it is for us. It’s what we do on week-to-week, how we build to become better individuals and then, by becoming better individuals, putting in the team concept.”
The Stingers are now heading to the 2018 Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship, held in Victoria, BC from Nov. 21-25.
“This is something that was on our minds at the beginning of the season,” Beemer said. “However, we haven’t talked about it in the last weeks. The [players] knew it was something they could have the opportunity [to play] for at the end of the year.”
The Stingers lost their two games played in last year’s tournament. Beemer added that the team knows what to expect and is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“We’re looking to build on momentum from last year,” Beemer said. “We know there’s gonna be a lot of great teams out there.”
Pelletier said his team will use the next days to make sure they are ready for their opponents.
“We have two other weeks to work [before the Championship],” Pelletier said. “There will be really good teams there. We have to be ready. We just need to keep working hard.”
Main photos by Hannah Ewen.