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Concordia robbed of rugby title

by Archives October 28, 2008

The Concordia Stingers women’s rugby team left their blood, sweat and tears on the field in the Quebec conference final but ultimately that’s not where the game was decided.
“We’re just disappointed, if you lose you want to lose on the field, not lose by a piece of paper,” said head coach Graeme McGravie.
It was a disappointing finish for the Lady Stingers, not simply because they lost, but because they were robbed of their chance to go to Nationals.
After the full 80 minutes of play in the QSSF finals, Laval and Concordia were tied 20-20. This was an impressive feat in itself for the Stingers, as the undefeated Rouge et Or team had only 33 points scored against them all season (23 from Concordia and 10 from McGill).
After regular play, the two teams entered sudden-death overtime. Two 10 minute periods passed with Laval coming extremely close to winning. Concordia took a penalty right in front of their goal posts, leaving Laval with an easy kick 10 yards away from the end zone. Fortunately, the Laval kicker choked and Concordia was still alive.
After a deadlocked overtime, normally the teams would select a kicker and continue into a kick-off. A kick off is extremely similar to a shoot out in hockey. Both kickers try to score a field goal from and the first to miss when the other succeeds is deemed the winner.
This is where the situation gets sticky.
Captain Melanie Tranchemontagne and head coach Graeme McGravie were both called to centrefield along with the Laval captain and coach to be informed that because of a new rule from the QSSF, Laval had won the game.
Rule D.9.2. reads as follows: “Should a tie exist at the conclusion of full time play, two 10-minute sudden death overtime periods will be played. If still tied, the tiebreaking procedures below will be used.
A)The team scoring the higher number of tries shall be deemed the winner.”
Because Laval had reached 20 by scoring three trys and Concordia had achieved that score by two trys and a combination of kicks, Laval won the game.
“I’m really just shell-shocked,” said McGravie on the team bus back from Quebec City, “I’m at a loss of words.”
The teams season is now over and their chance to compete at Nationals in Lethbridge, Alberta stolen by the Rouge et Or.
The game didn’t really pick up for the Stingers until the second half. Feeling the pressure of a 15-3 lead built by the Rouge et Or in the opening frame, the Stingers started turning on the heat. “It was another game where we came out on all cylinders in the second half. We just dominated them,” said McGravie.
Tries by Lisa Hoffman and Vanessa Gillo on a series of rucks on the try line gave Concordia the lead with 15 minutes left.
Laval quickly regained control of the game by scoring another try. With no time left on the clock and a penalty against Laval, it came down to Jackie Tittley. The rookie kicker needed to put the ball through the uprights from 35 yards out to tie the game. And that’s exactly what she did. McGravie credited her with “saving the game for us when we needed it the most.”
In the overtime periods the Stingers played as if it were their last game. “How they got energy was beyond me, they went into overtime looking like they hadn’t played the first two halves at all,” said McGravie.
He credits his squad with playing as one. “I can’t really say that one person did more than the next person, it was that good of a team effort,” he said.
It was a defensive effort for the Stingers as the Rouge et Or threatened to score over and over again.
They came through with their hopes riding on Tittley’s kicking ability- but instead were left disappointed by the QSSF.
The lady Stingers finish their season 5-3 with what McGravie calls “one of the best rugby games I’ve seen in a long, long time.”

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