Men’s Rugby: Offseason Competition

Stingers Finish Second in Annual Pre-Season Sevens Tournament

  • The Concordia Stingers fell to the Université de Montréal Carabins in the final of their annual rugby Sevens tournament hosted at the Stingers Dome on Loyola Campus Sunday afternoon. Archive Evgenia Choros

The Concordia Stingers fell to the Université de Montréal Carabins in the final of their annual rugby Sevens tournament hosted at the Stingers Dome on Loyola Campus Sunday afternoon.

Eight teams from near and far made their way out to the Stinger Dome to partake in the annual tournament hosted by Concordia. This increasingly popular format of rugby, played seven-a-side instead of the regular 15-a-side, is faster and higher scoring than the 15’s variant. It stresses speed and precision more than it does power.

This was an exhibition event, but it was highly competitive, nonetheless.

“I expect to win,” Stinger head coach Clive Gibson said, “I always go into something expecting to win.”

The Stingers, who finished last season with a record of 4-5, had an impressive run in this event. They went undefeated to win their pool in the round-robin component of the tournament, before falling short to the speedy Carabins in the final match. Their pool consisted of Dawson College Blues, the Bishop’s Gaiters, and the Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or.

Of their three-round robin contests, the only difficult one came in their opener against Sherbrooke. The game ended at 10-5 after a late try was scored by Stinger centre Anthony McQueen, giving Concordia a tough opening victory.

“It was rocky start, it’s not how we wanted to start,” said Concordia’s captain Andreas Krawczyk after the opening game, “I think we have a very good side out today, and if we stick to our game plan, it can be truly positive for us.”

Whatever that game plan was, coach Gibson drew one up and the team executed it brilliantly. The Stingers breezed through Bishop’s and Dawson College 20-5 and 30-10, respectively.

After the match against Dawson, coach Gibson, who had been frustrated by his team’s effort in the opening match, nodded and said “much better” with a smile.

Their success in round robin play gave them a berth into the first place match, where they would face the Carabins. When asked if the familiarity with Sunday’s opponents had any effect on their preparation for the matches, Krawczyk immediately mentioned the Carabins.

“They play with a lot of speed,” said the Krawczyk. “They have a lot of very fast players which makes them a tough team to face in Sevens.”

The Carabins won the match and tournament with a 25-10 victory. Their quickness in the open field was on full display against the Stingers, who were tired after a full afternoon of play. The Carabins certainly match up favourably against the Stingers, having beaten them twice last season.

One good reason to hold a Rugby Sevens tournament during the offseason is that the speed and precision of the Sevens format helps improve a player’s abilities to run in the open field, as well as the accuracy of their passes.

Those in attendance Sunday afternoon were not just treated to a great competition, but they got to witness a celebration of the game too.

“I think it was great,” said coach Gibson about the event. “I think there were some great games going on, I think there was some great talent on display.”

The Stingers men’s rugby team have been busy in 2016, and have already participated in Sevens tournaments, including two in Kingston, Ont. A third trip and tournament to Kingston on Feb. 27 is next for the Stingers.

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