Concordia 69, McGill 0: Stingers’ Women’s Rugby Win Quarter-Final

First-Time Starters Step Up for the Stingers

Photo Valentine Alibert

Oct. 17 was the start of playoff games in the Réseau du sports étudiants du Québec. The Concordia women’s rugby team soundly defeated the McGill Martlets.

With several of the Stingers' frequent starters out due to injury, many inexperienced players had to perform well.  

“Oh my goodness, [the new starters] were great,” expressed Stingers’ head coach Jocelyn Barrieau post-game. “We had a pretty tough week of training. We pushed them pretty hard.” Barrieau said that because Concordia was unable to achieve the fourth-place position in the RSEQ standings, her team wanted to respond physically in their match against McGill.  

The windy conditions surpassed a howl into an audible screaming sound, making for a tedious start to the game as both teams adjusted. Despite the climate, the ball touched both sides of the field as both teams generated momentum. The defensive play kept the game scoreless until four minutes in.

The Stingers broke the score wide open. Concordia retained possession, knocking on the door of the Martlets’ try zone. Stingers fullback Madeleine Mctavish punched in the score, but fly-half Mahalia Robinson missed the convert. Concordia led 4-0.  

The young Stingers forward core set the tone. Concordia disrupted the ruck walls Mcgill attempted to construct, frequently ousting the ball from their possession. 

Concordia’s ability to overpower McGill frustrated the Martlets. In the 25th minute, McGill forward Asia Douglas was given a yellow card. With the Martlets down a player, Concordia would score as back Fallon Coulouris dove in for the try. Concordia led 10-0.

The Stingers kept up the pressure as they made tries in the 31st and 35th minutes. Stingers’ flanker Samara Ben Sabat and scrumhalf Meaghan Comeau obtained those tries. Robinson navigated the troublesome wind, and made both converts. 

“Usually with wind, you have to adjust, and sometimes there is just nothing you can do,” explained Robinson after the match. She added that weather conditions can wreak havoc on the success of the kicker, but at the end of the day, a kicker must do what they can and hope the ball bounces the right way. 

Comeau would score once more before the end of the half, and with the convert, Concordia ended the first frame up 31-0.

The second half started with a bang. Concordia Winger Christina Polichronopoulos’ forceful stiff-arm shoved away a Martlet’s defender. Polichronopoulos dug her cleats in deep with every powerful stride as she made her way past two more opposition players for the opening try. With the conversion, the Stingers took a 38-0 lead.

For ten minutes, between the 12th and 22nd minutes of the second half, Concordia put up three more tries. Robinson succeeded with the initial two scores, the first when she found a break in the Martlet’s defensive line and the second off an elite passing chain from eightman Maxine O’leary to Comeau to Robinson. The third try came from winger Emma Marshall. Robinson missed the last conversion as Concordia extended their lead 57-0.

For good measure, Concordia scored twice more when forward Gabrielle Vendette and outside centre Hayler Fewtrell found their ways into the try-zone. Robinson converted one of two kicks, and Concordia won 69-0.

“It was nice to see players who haven’t always put their hand up for selection and bring a big physicality by different people, putting the ball down for a couple of tries today. There were some fun surprises today for sure,” said coach Barrieau when talking about her team's win overall. 

The Stingers hope to continue this post-season positivity as they take on the Université de Montréal on Saturday, Oct 22. Start time is still to be determined.