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PREVIEW: Women’s Rugby set to battle Laval for RSEQ Championship

Photo: Greg Mason
Photo: Greg Mason

For a sixth consecutive season, the Gee-Gees women's rugby team is set to play for an RSEQ Championship. The Gee-Gees will face the Laval Rouge et Or for the title on Friday night at 6:30 pm at Stade Telus.

The game will mark the third consecutive meeting between the two teams in the final. Unlike the past two years, the Gee-Gees will hit the road, with the top seed Rouge et Or holding home field advantage this year.

"It's a very different set of circumstance, obviously the team is the same but the build-up to the final has been very different than the last five years," said head coach Jen Boyd. "But we're excited for the additional challenge that being away will bring, we can only grow from it and we're looking forward to Friday."

In their past two RSEQ Championship meetings, the Gee-Gees won by a score of 40-19 in 2018, and 25-7 in 2017.

Laval has the edge in more recent meetings, with the Rouge et Or winning both regular season games this season. In their first head-to-head Laval emerged victorious by a score 28-17 at Matt Anthony Field on September 7. When the teams met on Laval's home turf three weeks later on September 28, Laval won 32-0.

Regardless of the history between the two teams, the Gee-Gees are focused squarely on the road ahead.

"We try not to think too much about the past, we always look to the next game, this year is no different," Boyd stressed. "Laval has been chasing us for a while, they caught us and surpassed us … I appreciate the efforts and time the coaching staff at Laval has put it, this is that group's third year with their program. 

"It's good, we needed to be beat, to be honest. I think it's good for the league, for rugby in the country.  This will be an ongoing battle year-to-year Laval and uOttawa as long as our coaching staffs are still in place. It'll be a lot of fun on Friday night."

Heading into the contest, the Gee-Gees are fresh off a strong performance against Sherbrooke in the RSEQ semi-final. A balanced attack was a key to success, with five different Gee-Gees scoring a try, though Boyd believes the upcoming weekend will be best defined by the defensive play on the field.

"October playoff rugby is about defence, that's our focus going into Laval," she said. "They play a tremendously suffocating blitz defence; they'll be in our face. If we were to score five tries on Friday, I'd be extremely surprised."

"We have a few tricks up our sleeve that we're going over this week. We'll see if they'll work," she added. "It's our last game before nationals, that's really our focus. We'll see how it goes."

Regardless of the outcome on Friday night, both Laval and Ottawa will be among the eight best teams in the country at the U SPORTS Rugby Championship presented by uOttawa. Catch all the action from October 30 – November 3 at Matt Anthony Field.