McGill men’s rugby (2–0) is looking strong heading into the regular season after a resounding 47–15 win against Harvard (0–1). In the 38th annual Covo Cup, McGill’s final preseason game before RSEQ competition begins, McGill came out with a tenacious defensive showing and exciting play.
“We played hard defence, we didn’t let them get the ball, and I think we had a great game,” third-year prop Jeremy OckoMichilak said in a post-game interview with The McGill Tribune.
While McGill’s play was commanding throughout the game, an especially strong first half gave them a 26–3 lead at halftime, with Harvard’s only points coming from a penalty kick at 33 yards. Fourth-year right winger Joshua Worden opened scoring for McGill with a try in the third minute of the game that was converted by first-year winger Jack Tucker to give the home side an early 7–0 lead. Second-year 8-man Andreas Dionisopoulos added two tries to the scoreboard for McGill and had two more erased on penalties.
“I was playing on the right wing, and I normally play in the centre, so it was a new position,” Worden said. “I was really happy with [the first try] and had a couple of really nice tackles.”
This victory against Harvard is McGill’s second win in two preseason games leading up to the 2019 RSEQ season, and their 8th consecutive win in the Covo Cup. Saturday’s match also brought McGill’s lifetime record in the Cup to 24 wins in 38 matches. This year’s iteration of the Covo Cup was popular with the fans as well. 1,560 people filled the south stands at Percival Molson Stadium, breaking the previous attendance record for a rugby game at McGill set at the 2015 RSEQ championship game against the Université de Montréal Carabins.
“It was an entertaining game,” Head Coach Ian Baillie said. “It looks like the crowd enjoyed it, the ball moved and there were lots of points scored.”
The pressure of the large crowd certainly did not seem to be an inhibitor for the McGill players.
“A lot of my friends showed up, and I was glad that we could fill up the stands,” Worden said.
The eventful evening was capped off by McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier presenting the cup to McGill men’s rugby captain Jessen Gibbs, a fourth-year centre. The team is now looking ahead to the opening of the RSEQ season.
“Confident, I’m feeling confident,” Worden said. “We have a tough [match] next week against Concordia, but we’ll take it day-by-day.”
McGill men’s rugby opens RSEQ regular season play against Concordia University at Concordia Stadium on Sept. 14 at 3:00 pm.
Moment of the Game:
A try from fourth-year right winger Joshua Worden converted by first-year winger Jack Tucker put McGill ahead in the third minute of play and set the tone for the home side’s high scoring throughout the rest of the game.
“Concordia’s going to be tough, but I think we’re going to stomp them.” – Third-year prop Jeremy OckoMichilak on how he’s feeling as the team heads into regular season play.
McGill missed only one conversion, with first-year winger Jack Tucker scoring eight points from four of his five conversion attempts and first-year second row Ian McDowell scoring on both of his attempts.
A previous version of this article stated that Suzanne Fortier is Vice-President of McGill University. In fact, she is the Vice-Chancellor. The Tribune regrets this error.