Laval Repeat as USport Champions – UVic Claim 2nd
The Laval Rouge et Or successfully defended their Canadian title, Sunday afternoon, by defeating the Victoria Vikes 32-13 in the championship game of the 2023 U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship, held in Quebec City.
For the Rouge et Or, it’s a second consecutive banner and a third title in four championships. The team from Quebec City now has a record of 3-1 in national finals, winning 22-5 against Queen’s last year in Victoria and 22-14 – also against Queen’s – in 2019 in Ottawa. Their only loss came at the 2017 event, held in Lethbridge, Alta., at the hands of the Ottawa Gee-Gees (20-10).
This is the first time since 2009 that a team has successfully defending a national championship. Between 2007 and 2009, the Lethbridge Pronghorns rattled off three consecutive championships.
This is the sixth medal overall for the Rouge et Or at the national rugby championship. For Victoria, this is their first U SPORTS women’s rugby medal.
The two teams exchanged blows early in the game. Second-team All-Canadians Madi Jumeau of Victoria and Cécile Lecerlc of Laval each scored a try within the first seven minutes of the game. Two penalty goals by the Vikes’ Maggie MacKinnon, sandwiching a try by Laurence Chabot of Laval, gave the Canada West finalists a 13-12 lead in the 22nd minute. This score held just before halftime, when Audrey Champagne grounded the ball in the in-goal area, much to the delight of the 1,708 fans at the Stade TELUS-Université Laval. She converted her own try to send the Rouge et Or into halftime up 19-13.
The Rouge et Or extended their lead in the middle of the second half when Alice Théberge scored her first try of the tournament, making the score 24-13 and the boisterous crowd felt victory was approaching. Corinne Fréchette, the tournament MVP, scored the try that settled matters in the 67th minute.
Théberge was named player of the game for Laval, while Faith Tilley earned similar honours for Victoria. Laval placed six players on the tournament all-star team, while UVic had four players, Queen’s had three while Guelph and UBC had one each. The UPEI Panthers rounded out the tournament honorees by winning the R.W. Pugh Award for fair play.
The 2024 U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship will be held in Charlottetown, hosted by UPEI.
Players of the Game
- LAV – #8 Alice Théberge
- VIC – #4 Faith Tilley
Laval 32 – Victoria 13
- VIC – Try Madi Jumeau – 2nd (conversion Maggie Mackinnon) (7-0)
- LAV – Try Cécile Leclerc – 7th (conversion Audrey Champagne) (7-7)
- VIC – Penalty goal Maggie Mackinnon – 15th (10-7)
- LAV – Try Laurence Chabot – 17th (12-10)
- VIC – Penalty goal Maggie Mackinnon – 22nd (12-13)
- LAV – Try Audrey Champagne (conversion Audrey Champagne)– 40th (19-13)
- LAV – Try Alice Théberge – 57th (24-13)
- LAV – Try Corinne Fréchette – 67th (29-13)
- LAV – Penalty goal Audrey Champagne – 79th (32-13)
2023 U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship Award winners
Monilex Trophy (national champion): Laval Rouge et Or
Championship MVP : Corinne Fréchette, Laval
Championship All-Stars : (listed in position order, from 1 to 15)
- Cécile Leclerc, Laval
- Alexie Lachapelle-Johnstone, Laval
- Tattyannah Jackson, Queen’s
- Faith Tilley, Victoria
- Izzy Page, Queen’s
- Kennedy Feasby, Guelph
- Alice Théberge, Laval
- Rachel Smith, UBC
- Corinne Fréchette, Laval
- Maggie Mackinnon, Victoria
- Carmen Izyk, Queen’s
- Audrey Champagne, Laval
- Larah Wright, Victoria
- Maelle Reed, Victoria
- Marie-Laura Choquette, Laval
R.W. Pugh Award for Fair Play: UPEI Panthers
UBC 39 Ottawa 21 – 5th place
Guelph Guelph 20 Queen’s Queen’s 36 – 3rd place
Victoria 13 Laval 32 – 1st place
UVic and Laval Win Semis: Vikes in Final Despite Initial Ranking of #8
The Vikes went into the championships ranked the lowest team at #8 but have fought their way to the final to take on defending champions and host team, Laval. Laval knocked of Queen’s 10-8 in a defensive battle.
UBC defeated UPEI 75-0 in the consolation round and will play for 5th spot against Ottawa on Sunday.
The Victoria Vikes continued to shrug off their underdog status, defeating the Guelph Gryphons 16-0 Friday night in the semi-final of the U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship at Stade TELUS-Université Laval in Quebec City. The Vikes, who were seeded eighth at the start of the tournament, reached the national final for the first time in their history, ensuring at the same time their best result at nationals, ahead of a fourth place acquired in 2021.
In a rematch of the 2021 quarter-final, which Victoria also won, the Vikes were opportunistic. UVic quickly got on the scoreboard at the start of the game, thanks to two successful penalties from first team All-Canadian Maggie MacKinnon in the first 10 minutes of play. The two teams fought hard thereafter, multiplying fierce tackles to prevent the opponent from adding points to the table. As a result, the first half ended with a score of 6-0 in favor of Victoria.
Another penalty at the start of the second period increased the lead of the Canada West finalists to 9-0. Despite the Gryphons’ continued efforts, Victoria held their own defensively, giving their opponents nothing. Then, a late try from Emmie Pierce sealed the outcome of the match in favor of the Vikes.
Victoria will face the winners of the other semi-final between Queen’s and Laval to fight for the Monilex Trophy. The national final is scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m. (EST). For their part, Guelph will play for the bronze medal starting at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Nike Team players of the game
- Victoria – #13 Sarah Wright
- Guelph – #9 Natalie Armatage
Victoria 16 – Guelph 0
- VIC – Maggie MacKinnon Penalty – 5th (3-0)
- VIC – Maggie MacKinnon Penalty – 10th (6-0)
- VIC – Maggie MacKinnon Penalty – 37th (9-0)
- VIC – Emmie Pierce try #11 – 65th (conversion Maggie MacKinnon) (16-0)
Women’s University Championship Live: #8 UVic Upset #1 Ottawa in Game One
The women’s university championship is live today from Quebec City. The live updates and video links can be found here: https://usports.ca/en/ticker
Unfortunately the archived videos of each game don’t seem to be available yet but the live stream is working at https://gem.cbc.ca/live-event/36336?autoplay=1
Earlier today #8 UVic defeated #1 Ottawa, 30-17, a big win for the Victoria team taking down the #1 ranked side.
In the second match #5 Guelph is leading #4 StFx 17-7 at the half. Guelph went on to win that match 29-14, setting up a semi-final against UVic on Friday. In the other quarter-finals Queen’s hammered UPEI 59-17 and UBC couldn’t get the attack going in losing to last year’s winner Laval 7-5. That sets the other semi-final as Queen’s v Laval.
The times below are ET.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2023
1:00 p.m. Quarterfinal #1 – #8 Victoria 30 vs. #1 Ottawa 17
3:00 p.m. Quarterfinal #2 – #5 Guelph 29 vs. #4 StFX 14
5:00 p.m. Quarterfinal #3 – #7 UPEI 17 vs. #2 Queen’s 59
7:00 p.m. Quarterfinal #4 – #3 UBC 5 at #6 Laval 7
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2023
1:00 p.m. Consolation #1 Ottawa v StFX
3:00 p.m. Consolation #2 UBC v UPEI
5:00 p.m. Semifinal #1 Victoria v Guelph
7:00 p.m. Semifinal #2 Queen’s v Laval
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2023
11:00 a.m. Fifth-Place Game
1:00 p.m. Bronze Medal Game
3:00 p.m. Championship Game
#1 Ottawa Gee-Gees, RSEQ champions (5-1 regular season, 2-0 playoffs)
#2 Queen’s Gaels, OUA champions (6-0, 2-0)
#3 UBC Thunderbirds, Canada West champions (5-0, 2-0)
#4 StFX X-Women, AUS champions (4-1-1, 2-0)
#5 Guelph Gryphons, OUA finalists (5-1, 1-1)
#6 Laval Rouge et Or, Hosts (6-0, 1-1)
#7 UPEI Panthers, AUS finalists (5-1, 0-1)
#8 Victoria Vikes, CW finalists (3-2, 1-1)
UVic v Ottawa Match Report
A 14-point performance from Maggie MacKinnon helped the Victoria Vikes cause a major surprise at the first game of the 2023 U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship in Quebec City. The Vikes defeated the top seeded Ottawa Gee-Gees 30-17 in the event’s first quarterfinal on Wednesday afternoon.
In a very physical contest, UVic opened the scoring with a pair of penalty goals in the 17th and 24th minute off the foot of MacKinnnon. Maelle Reed scored the first try a minute later, after an impressive 50-yard run to put Victoria up 11-0. Later in the half, Justine Blatt-Janmaat added another try, with a conversion and a subsequent penalty goal from MacKinnon. At the end of the first half, Ottawa made a strong push to 20 yards from goal, but the Vikes defence was intractable and maintained their 23-0 first-half lead.
In the second half, Alysia Comtois put the RSEQ champions on the board in the 53rd minute. But the comeback attempt was short-lived as Emily Findlay added a try for Victoria in the 67th minute. The Gee-Gees scored a pair of tries when the game had already passed the 70-minute mark (games in this round are played to 70 minutes), as Comtois and Ngozi Mosindi both found the end zone.
MacKinnon earned player-of-the-game honours for the Vikes as she was perfect on all her kicks for goal. Comtois earned similar honours for Ottawa after her two tries.
Victoria will take on the winner of the Guelph-StFX quarterfinal on Friday at 5 p.m. Ottawa will take on the loser of that game in a consolation contest on Friday at 1 p.m.
Victoria 30 Ottawa 17
- VIC – Penalty goal Maggie MacKinnon 17’
- VIC – Penalty goal Maggie MacKinnon 24’
- VIC – Try Melle Reed (conversion Maggie MacKinnon) 25’
- VIC – Try Justine Blatt-Janmaat (converti Maggie MacKinnon) 30’
- VIC – Penalty goal Maggie MacKinnon 35’
- OTT – Try Alysia Comtois 53’
- VIC – Try Emily Findlay (conversion Maggie MacKinnon) 67’
- OTT – Try Alysia Comtois 70’
- OTT – Try Ngozi Mosindi (conversion Taelor Hendrick) 70’
Nike Team players of the game
- Ottawa – #18 Alicia Comtois
- Victoria – #12 Maggie MacKinnon