Thursday, October 4, 2018

Navy Tested Against Norfolk

Photo: Jamie Honeycutt
Press Release

Saturday was an important day for the Naval Academy Rugby program as they sought to build depth within their ranks. On Saturday, September 29, the Navy Rugby team competed against a veteran Norfolk Blues squad. Because the Blues are not a collegiate rugby team - and Navy travels to Colorado this Friday for a highly anticipated Shea Cup match against the United States Air Force Academy - Navy’s Coach, Gavin Hickie, elected to give minutes to a younger, untested group of players. Not only did this provide an opportunity to give much-needed minutes to the younger players, but it also allowed most of Navy’s 1st XV to rest and recover as they prepare for their rivalry match against Air Force on Friday, October 5th.

Navy started an entirely new pack on Saturday, and many of their promising young players gained valuable experience against a seasoned Blues squad. Navy scrumhalf and captain on the day, Cole Euverard went three for three on kicks, including one kick for points after a penalty and two conversions on tries. Navy’s young Sophomore wing, Collin Argue, scored a beautiful try in his first 1st XV debut. Cole Euverard scored another try to bring the Midshipmen to 17 points on the day. The Blues scored 24 hard-earned points to earn the victory. It was a trial by fire for the Navy squad that suited up on Saturday, but it allowed Navy’s Coach Hickie to gain insight into the development of many of Navy’s younger players.

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On Saturday, the Navy Rugby program played a full slate of games, involving their entire program. In addition to their match against the Blues, Navy hosted two other teams at the Prusmack Rugby Complex. With the squad rotation in the 1st XV, these games ensured all our rugby playing Midshipmen saw playing time . Navy’s 2nd XV competed against an impressive Virginia Military Institution squad in their first league match as part of the Cardinal Conference. Several of the Navy players were competing in their first rugby match, and the much needed minutes provided a steep learning curve. VMI defeated Navy 2nd XV 34 to 24 in the match.

The third game on Saturday featured an untested Navy 3rd XV against Old Dominion University. It was this Navy squad’s first league game as well, as ODU is also a member of the Cardinal Conference. Navy’s 3rd XV squad featured mainly first year players competing in their first real match. ODU defeated Navy’s 3rd XV 40 to 26. However, the match provided valuable minutes to the previously untested Navy squad.

The matches against Norfolk, VMI, and ODU will prove to be an important step in the development of a large part of the squad. Although the outcomes of the games were not favorable, the Navy Rugby program will be much stronger as a result. Coach Hickie and his staff will carefully analyze Saturday’s matches in order to personally develop each of the young Navy players as they strive to break into the 1st XV squad.

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