Men’s Rugby: Heavy Rain, Big Result

Stingers Rugby Team Win Close Game Over Bishop’s Gaiters

Photo Evgenia Choros

The RSEQ reigning champions successfully passed the first hurdle of the year during their season opener with a 20-13 win over the Bishop’s Gaiters on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

The horrible weather conditions at Concordia Stadium meant quick adjustments for head coach Clive Gibson’s squad. Under the rain, rugby almost becomes a different sport.

“You can’t play with hands. The ball is greasy, you have to shorten your game and we couldn’t use the length of the field the way we want to,” said Gibson. “Hanging on to that ball is very difficult, it’s coming out of rucks and scrums covered in rubber beads.
Everything about the game is different.”

The Maroon and Gold played on their heels early in the game as the men in purple scored their first try in the first five minutes and thunder rose in the background. The Stingers then responded five minutes later as captain Andreas Krawczyk scored following a scrum a few yards from the goal line.

Bishop’s retook the lead in the 15th minute of play, making the score 10-5. The game would remain that way through halftime. Fortunately at the break, the rain came to a stop at the NDG venue.

The Stingers came out strong under the dryer weather. Five minutes into the second half, flanker Aaron Butler received a pass from a ruck near the goal line and pushed forward to get the try and eventually gave his team a 12-10 lead.

Soon after, a Stingers newcomer, Jonathan Banks, had his chance to shine. In the 17th minute of the second half, Banks scored on a penalty kick to give his team a 15-10 lead.

“Bishop’s’ crowd was really annoying and to shut them up was really nice,” said fly-half Jonathan Banks. “Taking the kick from about 30 meters out was really nice, a game-changing moment I found. It seemed to really boost our team and give us that advantage.”

As the rain restarted, the Stingers added another try to the mix. After a lot of pushing deep in Bishop’s’ zone, prop Waleed Mohammed dove into the try zone to get all five points, but left soon after suffering an injury.

Bishop’s tried to come back by converting a penalty but it was too little too late, as Concordia grabbed their first win in their first league game of the season.

“This is a huge start. We only play Bishop’s once because they are in another pool,” said eight-man Erik Samuel. “It’s a good game to win, to set the tone and no one comes on our turf and takes a win from us so message to the league.”

Although having a wild game like this one going their way, Gibson remains cautious and talked about the RSEQ’s new pool system for this season.

The new RSEQ league system makes sure that the six teams are divided into two pools which are based on last season’s standings. The Stingers, who finished first, are paired with fourth placed Montréal Carabins and fifth placed Sherbrooke Vert et Or. The other pool features the second placed McGill Redmen, third placed Bishop’s Gaiters and newcomers ÉTS Piranhas.

We want our wins but the fact of the matter is that the wins in our own pool are the ones that are crucial,” said Gibson. “Next week’s game against [Université de Montréal] is going to be the major measuring stick.”

The Stingers will play their next game against direct pool competition when they will host the Carabins on Friday Sept. 18 at Concordia Stadium.