Pandas dominate Gaels to reach first final since 2005


November 2, 2013, QUEBEC CITY (ISN) – The Alberta Pandas joined the Guelph Gryphons in the gold-medal final of the CIS women’s rugby championship, presented by the Secrétariat à la Capitale-Nationale, thanks to a 32-12 victory against the Queen’s Gaels in the Pool B finale, Saturday afternoon at Laval University.

The Canada West champion Pandas (2-0) will have a chance to add to their own record with a sixth Monilex Trophy triumph. Sunday at 2 p.m., last year’s CIS bronze medallists will play in the national final for the first time since 2005 and hope to claim their first title since 2003, when they captured a fifth straight banner.

As for the OUA titlist Gaels, they will be vying for the bronze at noon on Sunday against the McGill Martlets. Regardless of the result, they will post their best-ever finish at the CIS tournament, having finished fifth in their only previous appearances in 2010 and 2012.

“It was a tough game,” admitted Alberta head coach Matt Parrish. “We knew that they would come out strong again, that they would try to disrupt us, getting in our face and obviously, they got an early score but I’m really proud of how well we came back and stuck to our game plan.”

“It was a very hard-fought match,” said Queen’s head coach Beth Barz. “We started on the front foot and Alberta put us on the back foot and it’s the hardest place to play. We have to put this game behind and focus for tomorrow. I’m absolutely confident that we can move forward from here.”

Click here to hear complete comments from both head coaches.

The Gaels pushed into the Pandas’ zone early in the first half. After gaining a couple of penalty calls in its favour, Queen’s drove its scrum into the Alberta end zone, allowing its no. 8 Kayla Roote of Peterborough, Ont., to score the first try of the game.

The Pandas quickly responded by playing a hard physical game and utilizing their passing skills, which resulted in a try scored by Alanna Fittes of Rimbey, Alta., and making it 5-5.

Twenty-one minutes into the game, forward Rebecca Fairbairn of Edmonton took a penalty kick for the Pandas close to the 20-yard line, scoring between the uprights and making it 8-5 for the Canada West champs.

The Pandas were forced to play one player down for the last seven minutes of the first half when Louise Chavarie was sent to the sin bin for a team infraction. The Gaels’ player advantage was short-lived however as their own scrum-half Sydnee Nolan of Chatham, Ont., was sent to the bin three minutes later.

With two minutes left before the break, the Pandas pushed through the Gaels’ defence, as Julia Goss of Edmonton outstepped the Gaels with a quick run and pivot, allowing her to score Alberta’s second try. Fairbairn successfully converted her teammate’s try to make it 15-5. Ashley Amson of Ottawa then scored a hard-fought try in the final seconds to increase her team’s advantage to 20-5 going into the locker room.

Four minutes into the second half, the Pandas added to their lead thanks to a try scored by Chavarie, making it 25-5. A second try by Goss, then converted by Fairbairn, made it 32-5 at the 50-minute mark.

The Gaels continued to play hard, pushing forward offensively, which resulted in their second try, scored by Miranda Seifert of Regina. Centre Lauren McEwen of Wasaga Beach, Ont., converted to round out the scoring.

Fairbairn was named player of the match for the Pandas. McEwen received the honour on the Gaels’ side.

Official championship website: 


  • ALB 20-12: 32
  • QUE 5-7: 12

First half

  • QUE – Kayla Roote try 7th (ALB 0 – QUE 5)
  • ALB – Alanna Fittes try 11th (ALB 5 – QUE 5)
  • ALB – Rebecca Fairbairn penalty kick 21st (ALB 8 – QUE 5)
  • ALB – Julia Goss try (Rebecca Fairbairn convert) 33rd (ALB 15 – QUE 5)
  • ALB – Ashley Amson try 35th (ALB 20 – QUE 5)

Second half

  • ALB – Louise Chavarie try 39th (ALB 25 – QUE 5)
  • ALB – Julia Goss try (Rebecca Fairbairn convert) 50th (ALB 32 – QUE 5)
  • QUE – Miranda Seifert try (Lauren McEwen convert) 61st (ALB 32 – QUE 12)

Players of the game

  • ALB: Rebecca Fairbairn (Edmonton, Alta.)
  • QUE: Lauren McEwen (Wasaga Beach, Ont.)


  • Try: 5 points
  • Penalty goal: 3 points
  • Convert: 2 points


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 vs. Laval
  • 12:00 Bronze medal: McGill vs. Queen’s
  • 14:00 Championship final: Guelph vs. Alberta

Note: All games will be played at TELUS-UL Stadium except those on Saturday, Nov. 2, which will be played on Field #11 behind Louis-Jacques-Casault Hall (on campus).

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