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Army-Navy Game Something Special for Midshipmen

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Army-Navy Game Something Special for Midshipmen

Colleen McCloskey photo.

The Army-Navy rivalry is one of the most intense in collegiate rugby, and fans who go see the USA-New Zealand test match will get to see this first-hand.

For the Navy Midshipmen, this is a special game in part because the venue—FedEx Field in Landover, Md.—is pretty much on their doorstep.

To play this in an NFL stadium as the precursor to the 1874 test match makes it even more special.

“I’m truly honored and humbled to have the opportunity to compete at FedEx Field,” said Navy’s Colin Brennan. We are just going to go out there and focus on what we have to do to win. I think the energy will be to our advantage.”

Get Tickets for the 1874 Cup and the Army-Navy Game both right here>>

“The event is going to be significant for every player’s career,” added Lewis Gray. “To open up for our Eagles to compete vs the All Blacks is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We just have to take this opportunity and embrace it.” 

But, added Frank Bell, “once the game starts, all the distractions usually go away and we just play rugby.”

Right, play rugby. And while this contest is usually very close the last time they played Army won convincingly. It sticks with the Navy players, but they can’t too caught up with that. 

“I realized that you cannot underestimate any opponent,” said Gray. “We all know the magnitude behind our game vs Army coming up but we stay focused on our progress as a team. Training has always been about continuous reps to improve your skills; no matter what the opponent, it stays the same.”

Bell was injured for that last game, but he knows what he saw and what the players say. 

“We need to be more physical and play our style of rugby. I think if we can do that we will put ourselves in a good position to win the match,” he said.

But the key thing, said Brennan, is “we are treating it like any other week.”

Which is very, very tough to do. Beating Army is THE goal for a Navy sports team. 

“The Army-Navy rivalry is the biggest game of the year for every sport on the yard,” said Bell. “Most of our classmates who do not know much about rugby know how big the Army game is for us.”

“The Army-Navy Rugby rivalry holds a deep historic foundation and is the pinnacle of inter-service academy athletics,” added Brennan. “To me it is an incredible opportunity to compete against our brothers-in-arms on the pitch.” 

“It is without a doubt the biggest game of the year for us,” continued Bell. “When we train in the offseason and regular season, we always keep the Army game in mind for motivation. The history of the rivalry between Army and Navy dates back a long time, and to get to be a part of it is something really special.”

And the fans get to be a part of it too.

“The Army-Navy game is more than rugby,” said gray. “The intensity that is brought to this rivalry is larger than any game I’ve played in my whole career. The rivalry makes both teams equally unpredictable until the ball is kicked off.”

But, stadium, All Blacks and Eagles, or the rivalry and fans aside, said Gray, “it’s just another beautiful day to play some rugby.”

That it is.