The Concordia men’s rugby team flaunted their dominance by thrashing the Sherboorke Vert et Or 32-0 on Friday night.
It was an opportunity for many of the veterans to rest and for the young guns to get some action and prove themselves. “In our forward pack we had five reserves with some key guys out like David Biddle, Ted McGregor and Curtis McKinney but the boys really stepped up tonight,” said coach Shane Thomas. “We had a lot of key players missing and so we had some guys step up who wanted to prove something to themselves and to the coaches,” said interm captain Jimmy Bang.
Right off the bat the Stingers were on the board with a penalty kick by Xavier Birot. Concordia kept the pressure on with crushing hits by Adriano D’Angelo and Sean McDonough-Fraser. “That was the biggest hit I’ve seen in Quebec Rugby, I’m surprised the other guy got up,” said Thomas about McDonough-Fraser’s punishing tackle. Birot took a big hit from Sherbrooke, but landed in the try zone to make it 8-0.
The first half was marked by numerous penalties by Sherbrooke that strengthened the Stingers already strong field position. When David Walsh-Pickering stole a Sherbrooke line-out Bang used the opportunity to beat his man one-on-one and touch it down for a try. Birot made the conversion from 25 yards out to increase the lead to 15-0.
Bad kicking and strategy decisions plagued the Stingers as Sherbrooke pushed back. Concordia was deep in their own territory with Paul Bouet snagged a line-out that slipped through the fingers of two Vert et Or players and Jeremy Chung Lim broke the back line to run 15 yards.
Bouet shone again when he scored on an eight-man pick up off a stolen Sherbrooke scrum. Birot hit the mark to widen the gap 20-0.
Although the Stingers had a dominating lead, their play at times did look messy and uncoordinated. “(The connection between forwards and backs) is not something we’ve quite got down in practice to the point that we want to execute it during the game,” said Bang, “I think a lot of it was ad-libbed and kind of off the fly so it did look messy at times.”
The whistle for halftime signalled the beginning of a downpour. Rain can often change the dynamic of a game; the ball is slippery and harder to catch and often the majority of the play stays within the forwards.
Sherbrooke was looking desperate when they attempted a whopping 42-yard penalty kick to open the second half. The rain was a great equalizer; both teams were struggling with passing and rucking as the conditions became worse.
Concordia powered through the weather to make it to the Sherbrooke try line. The Vert et Or mounted their best defence of the game and repelled the Stinger onslaught at least seven times. Concordia was trying everything they could think of, forwards, backs, blindside plays, attempting to push mauls, forcing line-out and scrums but to no avail.
When it seemed the tide had turned Concordia’s Gavin Drohan found a hole in the defence to score and take the wind out of Sherbrooke’s sails. Birot’s conversion attempt hit the upright and bounced wide.
The Stingers would seal the deal in the last five minutes of play when Theodore Meltzer-Gardner and the forward pack pushed the ball into the corner of the try zone to make it 32-0. Meltzer-Gardner came onto the field in the last two minutes to wow the crowd with his try. “Our defense tonight was spectacular, we didn’t concede a point,” said Thomas, “but we still have a long way to go if we want to win the championship.”
The men move on to face the tough and drunken crowds and the not so tough Bishop’s Gaiters in Lennoxville on Oct. 1 at 8 p.m.
Offense no problem for women’s rugby
The Concordia women’s rugby team clobbered the Bishop’s Gaiters 65-0 on Friday night in Lennoxville. They remain undefeated this season with only three games left to play.
Emma Gaudet-Reichelson scored three trys in the shutout with help from Jackie Tittley (one try, five conversions), Jessie Lapointe (two trys), Solange De Blois (one try), Adara Borys (one try), Cara Stuckey (one try), Jenna Giuliani (one try) and Taryn Gauley (one try).
The scoring frenzy was on and off, explained head coach Graeme McGravie. “The score flattered us. The first half was a lot harder than the score indicated,” he said, “We scored pretty quick and then we didn’t again for another 15-20 minutes, but we did a lot better in the second half.”
It was another opportunity to get some new faces out onto the field, and to re-visit some of the veterans. “Adara (Borys) was our player of the game, she really stepped up and this is a player who hasn’t played in three weeks.”
This impressive victory over Bishop’s only serves to show exactly how strong the Stingers squad is.
Concordia will have another easy week ahead of them as Sherbrooke comes to visit on Sunday at 1 p.m. Then it will be the team’s true test as they face archrivals Laval and McGill in the following weeks to round out the season in the quest for the championships.