Last year, the men’s rugby team at Concordia turned a lot of heads and surprised a lot of people when they defeated McGill 20-18 at Molson Stadium to become Quebec champions. What do they have in store for this season? According to coach Clive Gibson, nothing less than a repeat.
“The aim is to win,” he said. “The team has worked extremely hard over the offseason, and they didn’t do it to lose. We’re all going out to win another championship.”
For the first time, the team worked on an offseason training program where they trained as a team three times a week with Concordia’s strength and conditioning coaches. In another first, the team was joined with some key rookies as early as January to take part in the program.
The team recently finished a trip to Ontario where they played two games. They beat Waterloo 26-13 and then lost to the Royal Military College 22-19 two days later. Gibson says the trip was about more than wins and losses.
“The core group of guys we took on the trip started off the season right. We had a fantastic trip, every man did what they were asked and then some and if we can carry this momentum into the season, we will start the season strong,” Gibson said.
If you want to know who the key players are, don’t ask Gibson.
“Every player has to do their part. The bench players are just as important as the starters because they have to take some playing time to give the starters a rest. We play a lot of rugby and all 33 guys have to make a contribution for the team to be successful,” he said.
The University rugby schedule is among the most grueling of them all. Featuring 10 games in seven weeks, it places a premium on conditioning. It also establishes different strategies. The Stingers did not have the best regular season record, but were healthy come playoff time. That, according to Gibson, is the key to success.
“The players are all looking for a better regular season record and better playoff positioning, but I, on the other hand, am more concerned about getting into the playoffs rested and healthy than getting the better regular season record,” Gibson said.
“Hopefully we can accomplish both so everyone will be happy,” he continued.
The Stingers play their first regular season game on Thursday at 7:30pm against ETS at Loyola Field.
QSSF Rugby Schedule Men
09/07 vs ETS
09/15 vs Bishop’s
09/20 @ McGill
09/24 @ Sherbrooke
10/01 @ ETS
10/11 vs McGill
10/15 @ Bishop’s
10/20 vs Sherbrooke