Three Tries Seal Stingers’ Fate
Men’s Rugby Team Falls Short of Provincial Supremacy
McGill’s Gideon Balloch scored three tries to help the Redmen come out as 22-10 victors over the Concordia Stingers in the Quebec Student Sports Federation rugby final on Sunday at Molson Stadium.
Concordia’s forwards showed their composure at the start and gained ground by being quick on the ball and displaying tight rucking, which also helped limit McGill’s possession.
However, within 10 minutes, the discipline fell apart. The Stingers’ rucks were getting sloppy and slowly turned into dog-piles.
While some of Concordia’s players were caught up in the messy rucks, McGill scrum half Daniel Levin was spinning the ball out to his wing, often times catching Concordia unprepared.
During one instance, McGill runner Cameron Perrin broke free and rushed Concordia’s blind side. The fans rose to their feet as a try seemed imminent but the single Concordia defenceman in his way snagged Perrin’s collar and slammed him onto his back, warranting a Stingers penalty.
The ensuing kick was successful, which resulted in the first points being put on the board and McGill taking a 3-0 lead.
Moments later, several rolling mauls brought Concordia into scoring position at the McGill try-zone, which inevitably led to a Redmen penalty. Stinger Adriano D’Angelo succeeded on powering the ensuing kick through the uprights to even the score at 3-3.
In the last 15 minutes of the first half, McGill punished Concordia by scoring two converted tries through Balloch. The late scoring put McGill in a dominant position at 17-3 going into the second half.
“Communication wasn’t on and holes opened up,” said Concordia head coach Clive Gibson. “We were getting badly outnumbered on the blind side.”
It seemed like Concordia had some real potential to make a comeback with a few strategic adjustments, but McGill’s defence was quick to rush and put a lot of pressure on the Stinger wing. D’Angelo, a fullback, was often forced to attempt slipping through rushing Redmen with no success.
Several fumbled passes and knock-ons, combined with Concordia centre Auguste Stoker being sent to the sin bin, did not help the Stingers’ cause.
“We were down a centre so how far do you shift the ball and risk losing it? Strategically, we had to make some decisions,” Gibson said of his offence.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” said McGill head coach Craig Beemer. “There were several times when Concordia was a forward pass away from scoring a try. But the previous loss [to Concordia] definitely gave us the focus we needed to win.”
Concordia’s potential to win remained. Eighth man David Biddle continued to do what he does best: stop runners dead in their tracks with crushing tackles.
“We didn’t adapt to the speed and left some gaps on the blind side,” said Biddle. “We utilized the forwards well this game. But it is definitely hard to watch, coming up from the rucks to see we’ve lost a few yards.”
The ball began to move out to the wing, gaining ground. Concordia scrum half Conor O’Hara scored a converted try, making the score 17-10.
Concordia’s hopes of tying up the score were crushed with three minutes left on the clock, as Balloch increased McGill’s lead with yet another try to make the final score 22-10.
This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 14, published November 16, 2010.