Stingers Advance to Finals Despite Taking Too Many Penalties
Concordia 31 Sherbrooke 17
The Concordia Stingers men’s rugby team were lucky the Sherbrooke Vert et Or choked harder than they did in Friday’s semi-final. That’s because their lack of discipline nearly cost them the game.
“They didn’t come close to following a game plan, they were all over the page and that wasn’t even rugby what they were playing,” said Stingers head coach Clive Gibson. “If we play that way next week, we might as well not show up.”
One of the reasons the Stingers came out of this game victorious is because they were able to get on the board early and often. This was the case as Frederic Kakou, Paul Bouet, and Joseph Fulginiti each scored within the first 15 minutes to go up 19-0.
But then the Stingers started to lose focus, repeatedly giving up penalties. This careless playing allowed the opposition to spend a lot of time at Concordia’s goal line, and at the 30th minute the Stingers paid the price when Sherbrooke forward Mirco Robert found an empty spot on the goal line to get on the board.
Just before halftime, Sherbrooke scored another try to come within seven points of tying it up.
“When were [up] 19-12 and we kept on giving away penalty kicks, I thought the game was in doubt,” said Gibson. “I had no idea if we’d pull it off or not because we kept giving them the advantage at our end.”
“They didn’t come close to following a game plan, they were all over the page and that wasn’t even rugby what they were playing. If we play that way next week, we might as well not show up.”
—Stingers head coach Clive Gibson
Stingers hooker Kim Haze Vuong was sitting on the edge of his seat in the game’s final minutes.
“At the end we were definitely shaking our own knees,” he said. “We weren’t in the right mindset but eventually we turned it back on.”
Fortunately, the Stingers started the second half camping out in the Sherbrooke zone, paying off in the 46th minute when Haze Vuong powered through the goal line to go up 24-12. But soon after they were back to their habit of taking bad penalties, allowing the Vert et Or to close the gap within a try once more.
Luckily, Haze Vuong had some last minute-fight in him, scoring the insurance-maker in the game’s dying minutes.
“They were very opportunistic, and if you give them a metre they take it,” said Sherbrooke head coach Jean-Michel Diorio, referring to the Stingers. “[We made] just small mistakes, but they just capitalized on them.”
When the Stingers take on the McGill Redmen—winners of the other Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec semi-final—they may have to do it without their fly half Yannick Fortin, who left the field early in the first half.
“He was complaining of a bad back and opted to throw himself out,” said Gibson. “We’ll get more assessment as week wears out.”
The Stingers will host the McGill Redmen in next Sunday’s RSEQ final. Kickoff is 1:00 p.m. at Concordia Stadium.