Concordia 47, Montréal 8: Men’s Rugby Books Third Straight Trip to RSEQ Final
In-Form Stingers Secure Ticket to RSEQ Final Before National Championship
On a chilly November afternoon, the Stingers men’s rugby team took on Université de Montréal’s Carabins in the Reseau du sport étudiant du Québec semi-final, cementing their spot in their third consecutive RSEQ championship game.
Before the game, players were presented with individual awards. Nine Stingers players were named to RSEQ all-star teams this season, thanks to solid performances from rookies and veterans alike.
As the action kicked off, the Carabins kept it close in the first half, answering back with a successful penalty after the Stingers’ first try. With snow starting to fall, Concordia would go on to score two more before the first 40 minutes were up. The Stingers went into halftime with a 19-3 lead, but this game was still within reach for the Carabins.
“We were a little bit loose on offence, I think we were trying to force a lot of passes that we didn’t really need to force,” said head coach Craig Beemer. “I thought we were winning a lot of the collisions and going forward anyways so we kind of hurt ourselves in the first half with that.”
But, as the second half picked up so did the Stingers. Looking far more awake and playing with strong physicality, the home team put up a few more tries to seal the win.
“You could see times in the second half where we started carrying the ball and just dominating the contact area,” said Beemer.
With strong performances from key players in veterans Thomas Goetz and Lucas Hotton, the Stingers blew by the Carabins, gunning for the final and coming out on top.
“I thought we played pretty well, there are always some things to work on,” said Hotton. “We have four more practices to figure it out for the final, and I think it’s just about that fine-tuning.”
The Stingers now move on to face McGill in the RSEQ final, in hopes of capturing their third consecutive provincial championship. Last time the Stingers faced McGill, it was a two-point game that could have gone either way.
“We’re going to have to play our best game of the year next week,” said Beemer. “They have a lot of talent, they can move the ball. We’ll have to look at the film to see and go from there. Every week it’s different.”
The Stingers take on McGill on Nov. 9 at home, where they’ll look to defend their title. After the excitement of the RSEQ final, they’ll have big things to look forward to as they play host to the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship Nov. 20 through 24. Regardless of who comes out the winner of next Saturday’s matchup, both McGill and Concordia have qualified for the tournament.
“[Hosting Nationals] is really exciting,” said Hotton. “I’ve been here since the first Nationals, and we were fortunate enough to qualify for the first one. We really made our case last year, finishing fourth, and we were able to receive the candidacy to host which really helps our program. People are interested and the guys get excited, are more motivated and it’s something bigger to work for.”