Rugby Team to Play at Navy in Varsity Cup 15s Quarterfinals
JONESBORO — Arkansas State University’s rugby team travels to Annapolis, Md., to play the U.S. Naval Academy in the next leg of the Varsity Cup 15s National Championship, Saturday, April 16. Quarterfinal action gets underway at 10 a.m. CDT, in the Naval Academy Brigade Sports Complex.
The Red Wolves, ranked fifth in the latest GoffRugbyReport.com, advanced to the next round after knocking off Clemson, 50-0, last weekend in Jonesboro. Ninth-ranked Navy defeated Notre Dame, 57-3, to move on to the second round. A-State and Navy have played only once before in 2009.
“It's going to take a full team effort to pull out a good victory against a strong and tough Navy side,” said A-State Head Coach Shaun Potgieter. “After two days of practice and two long days of travel, I will be happy to walk away with a ‘W,’ whichever way it may come.”
The Red Wolves should be in good shape, physically, as they escaped the Clemson match without injuries. In fact, Potgieter noted freshman Zac Young returns to the lineup after missing last week with a quad strain.
“The guys are feeling confident and are excited after the Clemson win, but they know we could have played better and need to rectify some aspects of the game. We hold ourselves to a high standard,” Potgieter continued.
However, the first-year head coach added that playing on the road in unfamiliar surroundings could make a difference. A-State departed Thursday by bus to Annapolis, spending the night in Knoxville, Tenn., before traveling the rest of the way Friday.
“We do our best to prepare and try to avoid certain conditions, but it's reality. Traveling on a bus can be taxing on the body. We also missed Thursday and Friday practice, so we have to make do with what we can utilize at and around the hotel.”
Potgieter concluded, “Navy is a disciplined, well-structured team on both sides of the ball. We know it will be a physical contest, but have plans to counteract that threat. We are honored to play against men who will be leading the nation’s defense force in the near future and look forward to a tough battle.”
The winner will face either Brigham Young or Dartmouth in the semifinals Saturday, April 23. Other Varsity Cup quarterfinal games this weekend include Army at California and Utah at Central Washington.