- Both Stingers rugby teams are preparing for a championship or bust season after losing to McGill in their season finales. Photo Geoffrey Vendeville
Stingers Rugby Previews
The Theme is Redemption For These Stingers Rugby Teams
Last season, the Stingers men’s rugby team reached the RSEQ provincial final, but relived a familiar nightmare—a loss at the hands of the McGill Redmen. It’s a loss that’s still fresh in the mind of coach Clive Gibson.
“We played well all season, but we crapped out in finals,” Gibson said. “It probably was the worst game we played all season.”
The Stingers dropped a 16-6 decision at the hands of McGill at Percival-Molson Stadium last November, marking the fourth straight year the team has lost in the championship final to McGill.
For Gibson and his men, the Stingers’ goal for the upcoming 2014 season is simple.
“This year, I’d like to win the finale,” he said.
There are spots that need to be filled within the team, however, and Gibson is hoping that some of his new players can fill these roles.
“I need a new eight man, primary jumper. Basically, I need front-row material,” Gibson said.
More importantly, the team’s attitude, according to Gibson, is what is in need of the biggest adjustment.
“On paper we’re the best team,” Gibson said. “But the players need to develop a winning attitude, a mental attitude. When they are on the field, players need to own the lawn.”
One huge positive for the men’s side will be the return of team and league MVP, fullback Joey Fulginiti. While it appeared uncertain that Fulginiti would return to the team after the finals loss to McGill, Fulginiti will be back for the upcoming season.
The men’s rugby season begins on Sept. 10 at 9 p.m., a home game against the Redmen.
As the Stingers women’s rugby team prepares to start a new season, they should rest easy knowing they’ve made the playoffs for the last nine years in a row.
But one thing is still keeping head coach Graeme McGravie up at night—last season’s provincial championship game loss to McGill.
“With all due respect to [McGill], they played well, but it was our game to lose, and we did,” said head coach McGravie.
Coming off a season which saw the Stingers finish first in the RSEQ, McGravie has high expectations for his team this year. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be taking anyone lightly.
“The women’s rugby league is a small tight league with five teams, and everybody has beaten every team throughout the season,” McGravie said.
While the team is in the early stages of its camp, McGravie has already identified two new players that have made an impression on him—rookie fly-half Kaylie Stuckey, the younger sister of flanker Cara Stuckey, as well as centre and Canadian U20 star Frédérique Rajotte, who will return
to the team after missing the 2013 season.
The team will play an exhibition game against Western University before kicking off their 2014 season on Sept. 6 at Carleton at 6 p.m.
They’ll then play their home opener the following week in the Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup, against bitter rival McGill, adding another chapter to their rivalry.
“I expect to beat McGill every year,” McGravie added. “It’s fun to beat McGill when you’re a student or a member of the staff.”