Photo by Marc Lafleur
QUEBEC CITY – Making only their second appearance ever in the RSEQ rugby semi-final the Carleton Ravens faced a steep challenge on Saturday afternoon as they took to the pitch at the Université Laval. The Ravens, second in the RSEQ B Division were challenging an undefeated Rouge et Or team who entered the match ranked first in U SPORTS. Despite a valiant effort, the Ravens would fall 29-3.
Early in the match Laval would keep the Ravens on their heels, backing them up several times before finally scoring in the first ten minutes of the match. As the match neared 18 minutes the Rouge et Or would put an end to a series of five back-and-forth kicks between the two teams by breaking through a gap in the Ravens defensive line to extend the lead to 12-0.
Just before the end of the half, Laval would demonstrate their strength again backing up the Ravens in a scrum stealing possession and quickly working downfield to score their third try of the half.
Trailing 17-0 at the half the Ravens would come out strong in second. Through the first fifteen minutes, both teams seemed deadlocked, as the Ravens displayed a renewed energy which they used to trade possessions with the Rouge et Or. With each Ravens drive, the Rouge et Or would push back in the scrum, controlling each restart as their front row appeared to regularly overpower the Ravens young pack. As they did in the first half, the Rouge et Or would add another try just under 20 minutes into the half extending their lead to 22.
As the half wore on the Ravens were able to back Laval up into their own territory, after missing their first attempt at a penalty from approximately 30 yards before Vanessa Chiappetta (Rigaud, Que.) would step up and put the Ravens on a board from 20 yards out. The successful penalty would extend the Ravens streak of 16 games without being shutout – dating back to their last meeting with Laval in 2019.
Laval would add another try in the final minutes extending the lead to 26. Despite a long drive from the Ravens down the stretch, Laval’s veteran crew would stand firm, holding the Ravens up and preventing Carleton from cutting the gap any closer.
For the Ravens, the loss ends a program-best six-game win streak. Despite the loss, the Ravens season will continue next weekend as they will face the Montreal Carabins in a rubber match for the RSEQ Bronze Medal.