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PREVIEW: Men’s rugby set for home opener against defending champion Stingers

Photo: Greg Mason.
Photo: Greg Mason.

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees men's rugby team looks to continue their hot start to the season in their home opener on Sunday, Sept. 22 when they take on the Concordia Stingers at Matt Anthony Field.

Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.

Ottawa opened their second season in the RSEQ with a 23-15 road victory over ETS. Sam Mace and Connor Billo scored tries for the Gee-Gees. Both scores were converted by Nathaniel Maginnis, who also kicked three penalties. 

"It was an excellent first match," said Gee-Gees head coach Steph Crawley. "ETS tested us, and we have a lot of new faces on the roster, so cohesion was key. Our forwards dominated, stealing 35 per cent of ETS' set piece."

Billo, an Ottawa product studying History, is one of eight first-year players who will dress for the rejuvenated Gee-Gees this season.

James Flemming was voted as the team's Most Valuable Player for the game. A fourth-year Geography and English major from Belleville, Ont., Flemming was named Gee-Gees Most Valuable Player last season. His four tries tied him for eighth overall in points scored in the RSEQ, also meriting him a Second Team All-Star nod. 

The Gee-Gees owned a 2-1 record at Matt Anthony Field last year, with victories against ETS and the Université de Montréal.

Their only matchup with the Stingers in 2018 was their final game of the season, with Concordia emerging 52-3 victors in Montreal. The Stingers went on to a perfect 6-0 record last year, winning the RSEQ championship over the Bishop's Gaiters. 

The last time Concordia lost an RSEQ match was the playoff quarterfinal against Bishop's in 2016 and the program is currently riding an 18-game winning streak. When they kick off on Sunday, their last loss will be a remarkable 1,057 days ago. 

The Stingers were given a good test in their season opener, as they vanquished their cross-town rivals from McGill 23-21. 

"We wanted to double-down on our strengths as a team, working on our defence and fitness a lot during the bye week. We also have continued to work on our support running and execution in attack," said Mace.

"We are all looking forward to the rest of the season and would love to finish our season with some silverware to show for it." 

For in-game updates on Gee-Gees men's rugby games, follow @GeeGeesMRUG. Tickets for all home games are available for purchase at, and will be streamed live on YouTube at