Concordia’s men’s rugby team took to the field to face the McGill Redmen on Wednesday night at Concordia Stadium. This was the first meeting between both schools since last year’s final.
The Stingers looked to settle the difference in this game, but poorly executed set plays led to another loss to their rivals. McGill won the match 22-10.
The first half was highlighted with great defense and heart from the Stingers. They opened the game with tons of pressure against a Redmen side that did not respond favourably to the tactics. McGill committed an abundance of penalties as a result.
The first points on the board came out of an outstanding tackle by Stingers flanker Paul Bouet. This sparked a lapse in judgment from the Redmen and gave rookie centre and kicker Joey Fulginiti great field position from 30 yards out. He easily made the kick to give the Stingers a three-point lead. The rest of the half was spent fending off the opposition.
Concordia rookie Fulginiti has integrated well with the team. During Wednesday’s game, he had five points against McGill and while some rookies feel pressure, Fulginiti otherwise.
“It’s a great atmosphere, as a rookie, you don’t feel like one and were a very close knit family,” he said.
A late penalty by Concordia allowed McGill one last effort to put up points. The Redmen successfully managed to keep the ball and scored a try. The conversion was good, giving them a 7-3 lead going into the second half.
While McGill played with some degree of difficulty in the first half, the second 40 minutes saw a completely different team. The Redmen were successful on a majority of their set-piece plays and managed to steal possession away from the Stingers. This gave the visitors’ backs ample opportunities to move the ball up the field. McGill scored two tries and kicked for three points to give them a 22-3 lead.
Losing the set piece battle made it difficult for the Stingers backs to see any possession. The team spent all but the last moments of the game in their half of the field. A lightning fast run by Freddy Kacou resulted in a late try thanks to an offload from teammate Fulginiti. These were the last points of the game.
“We’ve got the guys who are buying into the game plan, thinking tactically, and I’m very happy,” said head coach Clive Gibson. “There is still work to be done, but we have time. This gives us a good platform to work on.”
“It was a game of two different halves,” said Stingers flanker Bouet. “The first half we played pretty well, minus the mental breakdown at the end. I think in the second [half] we continued to make those same mental mistakes.”
The Stingers have an important fixture next week against Université de Montréal. A win is even more crucial as the team no longer has the luxury of a guaranteed playoff spot.
Concordia faces off against U de M on Friday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. at Concordia Stadium.