Rugby to Host Arkansas Saturday in Centennial Bank Stadium
JONESBORO – College rugby fans will get an opportunity to watch two instate programs collide when Arkansas State University hosts the University of Arkansas, Saturday, Nov. 9. The match will be held in Centennial Bank Stadium on the A-State campus and gets underway at 1 p.m. Admission is free.
“The team is very excited to play Arkansas and represent our great university,” said third-year head coach Blake White. “Aside from facing the Razorbacks, we need a big crowd to come out and support the team and be a part of this experience at Centennial Bank Stadium. It should be exciting.”
The seventh-ranked Red Wolves are looking forward to playing in Centennial Bank Stadium. The football Red Wolves are idle this weekend, leaving the stadium open for use by rugby. White visited with Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Terry Mohajir and Mohajir agreed the match should be held in the football stadium.
White noted that A-State rugby has played twice in the stadium previously due to inclement weather.
“It’s different compared to our pitch for several reasons,” added White. “One is simply the atmosphere of having a big crowd. But, mostly playing on turf, the visual cues around the players are different and the field is much narrower, so the game plan needs to change accordingly.”
The Red Wolves are coming off a 41-12 victory over Lindenwood-Belleville last weekend, giving them a 3-0 record this fall. A-State has outscored its three opponents, 156-17, including a 72-0 win over Alabama, 43-5 over Little Rock Men’s Club and last weekend. The Razorbacks are 1-2 overall.
“I think all of our guys have been working hard and learning our new system,” White stated. “This weekend will just be another game for us to work on things and lead into our spring semester of conference play. We do have several injuries, but it’s next man up. The guys are chomping at the bit to play and show what they’ve got.
This marks the sixth time the two programs will play each other. One was played in Jonesboro during the 2014 season and one in Fayetteville in 2015. The others were played in Little Rock in 2017 (twice) and once in 2016.
Arkansas State’s club rugby program has claimed two national championships and has become a regular postseason playoff team the past decade.
“Playing Arkansas is great for the growth of rugby in Arkansas, and shows how the two big universities can compete against each other in sports,” White said. “Maybe this could even encourage the two universities to play in all sports. Both schools have great fan bases and both deserve to compete against each other yearly.”