Third-ranked Arkansas State Rugby Team To Host Davenport Saturday
JONESBORO, Ark. — Third-ranked Arkansas State University’s rugby team will look to bounce back by hosting No. 7-ranked Davenport University, Saturday, March 8, at Centennial Bank Stadium. Play gets underway at 3 p.m. with junior varsity play between the two programs to follow at 4:30 p.m.
The Red Wolves, 1-1, hope to rebound after dropping a 34-7 decision on the road to second-ranked Life University last weekend.
“Davenport University rugby is one of the top seven programs in the country, and that is something not to be taken lightly,” said A-State Head Coach NeMani Debailatiki. “They have proven before that they are a threat to reckon with, and we know that as a program, we have to play well to get the win. If we don't, a good team like Davenport can crush us.”
Delaibatiki noted that the icy weather conditions that closed the Arkansas State campus for four days limited practice by the Red Wolves.
“It’s been tough with preparation for this game due to the weather and school closing,” continued Delaibatiki. “These are all elements we can’t control, but it’s times like these that we as a team have to dig deep and not have excuses. We have to try and find ways to play some good rugby on Saturday. I know our guys will be up for that, and I am sure Davenport University will be up for it as well.”
In addition to the weather, A-State has also had to contend with injuries sustained early in the match against Life. Delaibatiki said Zinzan Elan Puttick will miss the remainder of the season after breaking bones in his hand. Also, Connor Cook, Kudakweshe Makuvire, Jonathan Howard, Logan Doar, Ricardo Lantegan, Trey Cobble and Tyler Miller all suffered injuries which will keep them out of play against Davenport.
“The Life game was a tough one for us as a team, but one that we know we can manage better next time we play them here,” Delaibatiki said. “There has been such a high injury toll which indicates the physicality both teams bring to the game when we face each other.
“There were some lessons to be learned from that game and all the players know what is needed to not repeat that kind of performance again. I know my players are ready to bounce back from that loss with a win here against Davenport. It’s a job that won’t come easy, but one that is achievable if we play together as a team, play our patterns and minimize our mistakes.”
Two youth clubs from Memphis and Kansas will play each other at 1 p.m. prior to the A-State and Davenport match.