Home Men?s rugby upset: Bishop?s beats Stingers in semis

Men?s rugby upset: Bishop?s beats Stingers in semis

by admin November 3, 2009

Playoff dreams for the Stingers men’s rugby team ended in heartbreak with a 15-12 upset on Friday at Bishop’s University.
For the second consecutive year Concordia has failed to advance past the semi-finals.
Going into the semi, the Stingers were seated in second place and Bishop’s in third. The Stingers had split the regular season with a 17-15 win and a 31-10 loss against the Gaiters.
Captain Ted McGregor admits that he already thought the game was a done deal.
“Yes, I absolutely came in expecting to win. There was no point in the game that I thought we were going to lose, even on the last play I still thought we were going to come back,” he said.
The driving rain picked up right as the opening whistle sounded. This made the ball and the turf extremely slippery, which resulted in constant errors by both teams. Bishop’s dominated early but their most promising try attempt was halted by Jimmy Bang who managed to divert a Gaiter along the try line and out of bounds.
After this abrupt wake-up call, the Stingers managed to force their way back upfield. It was a forwards’ game as the wet ball made passing extremely risky. At times it seemed more like a volleyball match because the ball was tipped from team to team with no possession. Concordia’s forwards repeatedly threw themselves at Bishop’s try zone but were stopped in their tracks by punishing tackles.
A golden opportunity for the Stingers came as Kent Cullen and Paul Bouet found themselves two-on-one against a Bishop’s fullback, but they were unable to finish the play because of penalties, which plagued Concordia throughout the game.
The Stingers were left a man down when Bouet was sin-binned near the end of the first half. Concordia had to step up defensively, especially in the backs where they were faced with an overlap. Dario Pellizzari contributed by dump tackling a Gaiter to keep him out of the try zone. Jonathan Dextras-Romagnino and James Acker found themselves on the wrong side of a five-on-two but still managed to clear the ball away. Inevitably, Concordia’s defence broke and on the last play before half-time Bishop’s scored off a scrum to take the lead 8-0.
Concordia struggled against themselves in the second half. Every time they came close to scoring they committed a penalty and were forced to back up ten yards. The turning point of the game came when Dextras-Romagnino blocked a Bishop’s kick. The ball rolled into the end zone and Mike Consolante promptly dove onto it to score. Bishop’s answered back immediately with a try off a Concordia passing miscue.
“The slippery ball just killed us,” said Dextras-Romagnino, “we were throwing balls away in the worst situations.”
Gibson added to the gravity of the error by pointing out, “their second try took the wind out of our sails. We were going well and a critical error was made. We did give up but it was five points we couldn’t afford to give up and it cost us dearly in the end.”
It was at this point that Concordia started to play desperately. With time running low, the Stingers fought their way downfield. Under constant pressure, the Gaiters committed a costly penalty that handed the Stingers a try. Xavier Birot made the ensuing conversion and Concordia trailed by three with three minutes left.
All the Stingers needed was enough field position to set up Birot for a penalty kick and three points. Against the wall of Bishops’ defence, the closest they could get was mid-field. The Gaiters waited out the clock on time-consuming pick and gos. When the final whistle sounded, Concordia was three points short of moving on to the final and their shot at facing was McGill ruined.

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