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Statement to Make as Cornell Faces Army

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Statement to Make as Cornell Faces Army

Cornell University hosts West Point this weekend in the opening match for both teams for this fall.

It wasn’t supposed to be so for Army, but lightning forced the cancellation of this past Saturday’s tilt against AIC. West Point is still adjusting to a new environment. Back from suspension, they have been a varsity program since the beginning of August. A search for a new head coach was halted and interim Mike Mahan remains at the head of the program, but with a reduced roster (in the old days West Point boasted well over 60 players on the roster and four teams, now they are limited to 50 players and two teams).

As for Cornell, the team that won the Ivy League South with a 6-0 record last year is taking things slowly. Paule Barford said when he took over last season that they were looking to win a game and move on from there. He is just as guarded now.

“We lost eight starters from last year, and we know those things are cyclical but we did loe something,” Barford told Goff Rugby Report. “But we have players with experience. Last year I played as many players as I could [on the first side].”

Barford took over essentially at the request of then-coach Ron Shassburger, and he discovered that the pieces to the puzzle mostly were already in Ithaca. He just brought a new approach.

“I’ve been coaching with the High School All Americans and I brought from there a demand for a higher level of competence, commitment, and attention,” said Barford. “The personnel were there. We just had to have a new identity.”

The Big Red boast a very strong scrum and an attitude that they can win no mater what. What they might have to overcome is the travel. The upcoming Ivy League season is someway logical for the likes of Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, and Yale, who are all relatively close. And Columbia, Princeton, and Penn aren’t too far away from each other. But Cornell is way out there in the northern reaches of New York State, making their away games more difficult than most.