Stingers 33, Redbirds 0: Concordia dominates to secure fourth consecutive men’s rugby RSEQ provincial championship
Stingers offer up their best performance of season at the right time
Percival Molson Stadium was home to the 2021 Réseau Sport Étudiant Québec men’s rugby final between the Concordia Stingers and the McGill Redbirds on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. A crowd of 1,500 spectators was equally distributed between the two sides, however, the Stingers contingent was making all the noise by the end of the match.
The match was dictated in the midfield until we finally saw a breakthrough in the 20th minute with a try from Concordia’s Jean-Christophe Vinette. A successful convert from Arthur Du Chaffaut gave the Stingers a 7-0 lead to get the scoring started in this championship game.
“It wouldn’t show it on the board, but McGill was tough,” said Stingers head coach John Lavery. Opportunism was the story of the game. The Redbirds were stifled on the Concordia 1-meter line. McGill had another opportunity close to the goal line just a few minutes later and failed to capitalize yet again.
Things got a little chippy in the 27th minute when a fight broke out between the two teams. The championship intensity was evident.
The Stingers got all the way to the McGill 2-meter line thanks to a scintillating run from RSEQ all-star Aidan McMullan. Dylan McDonald would score a try on the next play. Du Chaffaut kicked a successful convert to put the Maroon and Gold up 14-0 with six minutes left in the opening half.
The lead built up by the visitors prompted chants of “OLE OLE OLE OLE,” from the Stingers fans. “We couldn’t win without [the fans],” said Vinette who scored two tries in the match. “Their support was amazing, it was almost a home game for us.”
The Redbirds had an opportunity to put some points on the board before halftime, but they missed their 29-yard penalty kick attempt.
The Stingers fans sensed the Redbirds trying to inch their way back into the game so they started to get really loud. Right before halftime, Vinette found the try zone for the second time in the contest, and after a successful convert by Du Chaffaut, Concordia was headed into the break up 21-0.
The Maroon and Gold opened up the second half with vigour, as they looked to put the game away and secure the championship.
20 minutes remained in the title match, and the score remained 21-0 in the Stingers favour.
“We talked about making a statement today, and proving our doubters wrong,” said Vinette.
Five minutes later, Concordia’s Mohammed Al Moallim wrapped up the contest and found the try zone to make the score 26-0. Whatever happened after that was purely academic, as the Stingers were well on their way to a dominant victory.
To add salt in the Redbirds wound, former 2019 RSEQ all-star, Stan Blazkowski scored a try in stoppage time to extend the lead. A convert by Du Chaffaut made the score 33-0 and it would stay that way.
The celebration ensued and Stinger nation was as loud as ever for the men’s rugby team. A program that knows nothing but excellence, Concordia have won their fourth consecutive provincial championship.
“It feels absolutely amazing to be a part of this quality group of young athletes,” said Stingers head coach John Lavery. “The onfield leadership [stood out] today.”
The Concordia Stingers men’s rugby team will now set their sights on Queen’s University where the Canadian University rugby championship will be played from Nov. 24 to Nov. 28.
“We progressed, putting in 30 hours a week over the past three months towards this, and building towards nationals,” said McMullan. “That’s all we really care about […] now we’re going to look to build these two weeks before Queen’s [University].”