Rugby To Open Home Slate Saturday With Memphis
JONESBORO – Arkansas State University’s rugby team will kick off the home schedule Saturday afternoon by hosting the University of Memphis in a 15s match starting at 1 p.m. at Curt Huckaby Field, 501 Red Wolf Trail. Admission is free.
The outing is the first for new head coach Blake White, who was named to the position Aug.1. Previously, White had served as an assistant coach for the Red Wolves.
“The team is looking great,” said White. “We have switched up our playing style a little bit and the guys are really buying into it with great energy and intensity at training. We've had some guys come back from injury already, but will still be missing about nine or 10 for the weekend. Our trainer Matthew Chadwick had been working very hard to get guys back as soon as possible. Without him, we would be missing even more.”
An extensive injury list was cited as the reason A-State withdrew from last weekend’s Fort Worth Red River 7s Collegiate Invitational Tournament.
Several veteran players return to the team that played in the quarterfinals of the Penn Mutual 7s Collegiate Rugby Championship in June and advanced to the championship round for the 15s national title in the Varsity Cup finals last May.
Among those returning include Brock Roper of Cocoa Beach, Fla., Dylan Boast of Los Angeles, Calif., Zach Young of Gold Coast, Australia, and Ruan Knuppel of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to lead a host of talented newcomers.
“This weekend I'm expecting big things from Patrick Meagher,” continued White. “He's an Australian hooker who is fantastic in set piece play, and has had a phenomenal attitude and work ethic.
“Another first year player to watch will be Asa Carter, a big mobile second row from Oklahoma. He's learning our lineouts quickly and is extremely fit and fast for his position. I love having players like him who I can put at second row, and it's like having four flankers out there running around.
“As far as my first game as head coach, I'm just very excited and proud of how hard these guys have been working,” White concluded. “As I said before I've had guys really buying into how I want them to play, and it feels great to see them progressing so quickly. I'm just excited to let them go play and represent Arkansas State and the community to the best of their abilities.”