Photo credit Yan Doublet
QUEBEC CITY (CIS) – Ranked first in the final Top 10 published at the end of the regular season, the Alberta Pandas stayed true to their reputation in the gold-medal final of the CIS women’s rugby championship, presented by the Secrétariat à la Capitale-Nationale, defeating the Guelph Gryphons 29-10 to add to their own record with a sixth Monilex Trophy triumph, Sunday afternoon at TELUS-Université Laval Stadium.
Bronze medallists a year ago, the Pandas hadn’t claimed the CIS banner since a remarkable run of five straight titles from 1999 to 2003, a streak which started against Guelph. Alberta reaches the national podium for the ninth time overall, a tally which also includes a silver medal and two bronze.
In the preliminary round of the 2013 tournament, the Canada West champions beat host Laval 56-10 and OUA titlist Queen’s 32-12 to finish atop the Pool B standings. A model of consistency throughout the season, the Pandas dominated their rivals by an average of 39-11 in Quebec City after winning by an average margin of 48-5 in conference play and 45-8 in the Canada West playoffs.
For their part, the OUA finalists Gryphons were playing in the third straight CIS final after losing to StFX a year ago and triumphing against the X-Women in 2011. Guelph merited its 11th CIS medal overall (2-4-5) and ends on the national podium for the ninth campaign in a row.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game when you get to the final,” said Alberta head coach Matt Parrish. “Our plan was to get ahead with this little bit of wind. Guelph came out really hard in the second half and it took us a while. I just thought we played a really disciplined game today. I’m very proud of them.”
“They are a tough opponent, they retain possession very well, they attack both sides, so they are pretty unpredictable. They have a balanced attack and a good defence,” said Gryphons head coach Colette McAuley. “We didn’t adapt to the referee very well so we got caught on their side of the rucks a lot and when you can’t hang on to your own ball, you’re not going to win games.”
There was excellent defensive play on the part of both teams at the start of the first half. The Pandas played more of a physical game than the Gryphons, but Guelph managed to stay in the game and match their rivals’ intense play. Alberta finally managed to put three points on the board at the 18-minute mark, thanks to a penalty kick booted by Rebecca Fairbairn of Edmonton.
The Canada West champs started to hit their stride in the last 20 minutes of the first period.
Louise Chavarie of Gaspe, Que., scored two tries off of two very similar plays in the 26th and 34th minutes. Her teammates set up open field plays near the try line that allowed her to enter the end zone on both occasions.
Chelsea Guthrie of Edmonton then increased the Pandas’ lead to 24-0 with a try 34 minutes in, allowing Fairbairn to make her third conversion of the half.
Guelph finally got on the scoreboard after the halftime break, at the 55-minute mark. Guelph native Caitlin McNally broke away for a long run from midfield. Stopped short close to the try line, she passed the ball to Daria Keane of Sarnia, Ont., who scored to break the ice for the OUA runners-up. Keane used her speed again to break away from her opponents and score a second try 64 minutes into the game, cutting the deficit to 24-10.
The Pandas responded in the 72nd minute however with a try from Jennifer Cousineau of Coquitlam, B.C., which all but sealed the victory.
Named to the all-Canadian team this season, Guthrie was voted MVP of the championship.
Third row player Alanna Fittes of Rimbey, Alta., was named player of the match for the winners, while winger Megan Lowry (Barrie, Ont.) received the honour for the Gryphons.
ALB 24-5: 29
GUE 0-10: 10
ALB – Rebecca Fairbairn penalty kick 18th (ALB 3 – GUE 0)
ALB – Louise Chavarie try (Rebecca Fairbairn convert) 26th (ALB 10 – GUE 0)
ALB – Louise Chavarie try (Rebecca Fairbairn convert) 31st (ALB 17 – GUE 0)
ALB – Chelsea Guthrie try (Rebecca Fairbairn convert) 34th (ALB 24 – GUE 0)
GUE – Daria Keane try 55th (ALB 24 – GUE 5)
GUE – Daria Keane try 64th (ALB 24 – GUE 10)
ALB – Jennifer Cousineau try 72nd (ALB 29 – GUE 10)
Players of the game
ALB: Alanna Fittes (Rimbey, Alta.)
GUE: Megan Lowry (Barrie, Ont.)
Try: 5 points
Penalty goal: 3 points
Convert: 2 points
Championship MVP: Chelsea Guthrie (Edmonton,
R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award: St. Francis Xavier X-Women
Prop: Megan Lowry (Barrie, Ont.), Guelph
Prop: Claragh Pegg (Barrie, Ont.), Queen’s
Hooker: Sabrina Kelly (St-Albert, Alta.), Alberta
Lock: Brittany Kassil (Guelph, Ont.), Guelph
Lock: Claudia Kedney-Bolduc (Lévis, Que.), Laval
Backrow: Amee Svatos (Canby, Oregon), Alberta
Backrow: Julia White (Campbellville, Ont.), McGill
Backrow: Devon Keys (Newmarket, Ont.), Guelph
Scrum-half: Chelsea Guthrie (Edmonton, Alta.), Alberta
Fly-half: Sabrina McDaid (Scarborough, Ont.), StFX
Inside center: Shannon Spurrell (Haley Station, Ont.), Guelph
Outside center: Julia Goss (Edmonton, Alta.), Alberta
Wing: Deanna Foster (Caledon, Ont.), McGill
Wing: Alanna Fittes (Rimbey, Alta.), Alberta
Fullback: Rebecca Fairbairn (Edmonton, Alta.), Alberta
POOL STANDINGS, SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Pool A preliminary round (FINAL)
GP W L T PF PA PTS
1. Guelph 2 2 0 0 68 12 10
2. McGill 2 1 1 0 19 41 4
3. StFX 2 0 2 0 22 56 0
Pool B preliminary round (FINAL)
GP W L T PF PA PTS
1. Alberta 2 2 0 0 88 22 10
2. Queen’s 2 1 1 0 31 49 4
3. Laval 2 0 2 0 27 75 1
NOTE 1: A win is worth 4 points and a tie 2 points.
NOTE 2: 1 bonus point is awarded for scoring 4 tries or more in a game.
NOTE 3: 1 bonus point is awarded for a loss by 7 points or less.
Thursday, Oct. 31
10:30 Pool A: Guelph 37, StFX 12
13:30 Pool B: Queen’s 19, Laval 17
Friday, Nov. 1
10:30 Pool A: McGill 19, StFX 10
13:30 Pool B: Alberta 56, Laval 10
Saturday, Nov. 2
10:30 Pool A: Guelph 31, McGill 0
13:30 Pool B: Alberta 32, Queen’s 12
Sunday, Nov. 3
10:00 Fifth place: StFX 45, Laval 20
12:00 Bronze medal: Queen’s 32, McGill 24
14:00 Championship final: Alberta 29, Guelph 10
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