The Concordia Stingers finished their regular season with a 23-6 loss to the McGill Redmen at home on Sunday. The game added a fourth loss to the Stingers’ losing streak, and allowed McGill to lock up first place.
Despite making the most of an undisciplined McGill team in the first half and putting six points on the board, the Stingers were unable to sustain that pressure during the second half.
“We took advantage of the kicks we could in the first half, but didn’t have as many opportunities in [the second half],” said Stingers head coach Clive Gibson. “Our defence was solid and [McGill] didn’t break the line that often.”
McGill used the halftime break to clean up their game. This change would eventually lead them to break the Concordia defence by capitalizing on each window of opportunity the stingy Concordia defence presented.
The Stingers showed off their defensive skills when the team received a disciplinary yellow card towards the second portion of the first half. Concordia fell short a man for 10 minutes; they battled constant Redmen pressure for the better part of 20 minutes. This defensive stand was highlighted with a gorgeous takedown of the Redmen scrum-half by eight-man Philippe Walkden, which eventually led to the Stingers gaining possession and clearing the ball, leaving McGill with nothing to show for it.
One of the more frustrating aspects of the Stingers’ performance was the inability to score a try against the opposition. “We had three chances missed on the wing; it’s all about finishing, especially in this league,” said scrum-half Conor O’Hara.
As a followup to Sunday’s game, the Stingers will face off with the Gaiters in a playoff matchup at Bishop’s University this Friday.
Despite Sunday’s loss, the team is hopeful. “If you look at how much we want it as a team and how aggressive we’re playing, no one is going to outwork us come playoffs” said Walkden.
Concordia lost once and tied once against the Gaiters in two meetings this year, and are hoping to rebound in the postseason. A win in Lennoxville would send Concordia to the finals for the second straight year.
“We can score against Bishop’s if we get the ball,” said outside centre Jonathan Dextras-Romagnino. “If we play how we played today, we have a good chance.”
Playoffs begin Friday Oct. 28 at 8:15 p.m. on the road against the Bishop’s Gaiters