Eight straight—that’s been the only thing that’s left to accomplish for the Redmen rugby team this year.
From the first whistle of the season, an eighth straight RSEQ Championship was the goal. Now, the Redmen (7-1) are one win away from hoisting another RSEQ Championship in their 13th consecutive appearance in the title match following a 24-6 domination of the Montreal Carabins (2-7) in the RSEQ semifinals this weekend.
This season provided a different experience for a program that is used to blowout victories, as every yard, every try, and every win had to be earned. The team’s first three games were all victories, but the total margin of victory was only 13 points, compared to last year’s total of 42 after the same number of games.
The squad didn’t waste any time on Friday, looking determined from the outset. It was clear that the visiting Carabins were outmatched in both physicality and talent. McGill overcame the troubles it had faced earlier in the season handling the ball and making plays, blanking the visiting Carabins 17-0 in the first half.
Junior scrum-half Humza Turab explained that the strong start is a result of disciplined execution.
“We followed our game plan really well,” Turab said. “Everyone knew what their job was and did it to the best of their ability.”
Centre Hugo Peurois put the first points on the scoreboard early at the 23-minute mark, while junior forward Noam Berson rounded out the scoring in the first half with a try of his own in the 36th minute. Berson was also named MVP of the game for his efforts off of set pieces and in open play.
Cameron Perrin, McGill’s senior fullback, was stellar once again as he led the squad in scoring with nine points. Perrin was perfect on his conversion attempts, and added a penalty goal in the first half.
The team now moves on to the finals to play cross-town rival Concordia. McGill and Concordia’s rugby programs have a very rich and recent rivalry. Two years ago, the Redmen won 28-7 over Concordia to notch its sixth consecutive championship. In last year’s RSEQ final, the Redmen eked by the Stingers with a score of 24-18 to claim the title. The lone blemish on McGill’s record this season comes from Concordia, who broke the team’s 12-game winning streak in a 19-13 victory at Concordia Stadium. Needless to say, the squad will have ample motivation for the chance to beat the Stingers once again; but in order to do so, the team needs to make a few adjustments.
“We will need to make sure everyone is on the right page, and we need to cut down on the penalties—especially [on] our own half [of the field],” Turab said. “If we can do that, we have a really good chance of going for the eighth straight banner.”
The RSEQ Championship will be held at Molson Stadium on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7:00 p.m.