The Concordia Stingers men's rugby team edged out the Bishop's Gaiters 22-20 to claim a second consecutive RSEQ championship on a cold, blustery afternoon at Concordia Stadium in Montreal.
The Gaiters jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but Julian Alexander responded with a try for the Stingers. Then Jonathan Banks connected for the convert from an impossible angle, tying the game in the 10th minute.
Before the first half wrapped up, the teams exchanged tries again with Jackson Marquardt scoring for the Stingers. Bishop’s was the only team that made the conversion and went into intermission with a 14-12 lead.
“In the first half we did things that were not characteristic of our usual play,” said Stinger head coach Craig Beemer. “We dropped balls, we lost some in contact. The wind was a huge factor in the game. It really affected us, and Bishop’s played well with it.”
The score went back and forth a couple of times in the second half with Stinger captain Lucas Hotton scoring the lone try. However, the Gaiters held a 20-19 lead as time was winding down. Fortunately Concordia was awarded a penalty, and Jonathan Banks nailed the kick giving the Stingers a dramatic 22-20 win.
“In the second half we went back to basics,” Beemer said. “We stepped up, controlled the game and held on to the ball a little better.
“Jonathan Banks making that kick on a normal day is not a problem, but in that kind of wind, it was a tough situation.”
The Stingers made it through the Quebec conference with a perfect 8-0 win-loss record, winning six regular season games, the Quebec semifinal and the championship.
The win gives Concordia a berth in the 2018 Canadian University Men's Rugby Championship hosted by University of Victoria Nov. 21-25.