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Goal-Setting for A&M

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Goal-Setting for A&M

One of the strange things about the Red River DIA Conference is that, while the teams involved have not finished all of their games, and have had to wait some months to finish, the league itself is decided as Oklahoma played all five of their conference matches in the fall, and won them all.

Perhaps that was good timing for OU, as they made a coaching change over the winter break, and are still working their way back to training for a spring season with a new staff. They should get there, but the transition hasn’t been easy.

So on to the remaining teams and games. The five teams not named Oklahoma have a total of four games to play, with 2-1 Texas A&M nicely-placed to win both of their remaining matches and take 2nd.

“Winning our remaining two games and taking 2nd is a goal for us,” said A&M Director of Rugby Craig Coates. “We’ve still got a lot of rugby to play this spring and we’re still recruiting and building our depth.”

A&M played in the Southwest Rugby Conference, fielding their B-side in that competition and finishing 3-2. Coates said that despite a couple of lopsided losses, and some difficulties in logistics when two teams were on the road on the same weekend, it was a good experience.

“The guys were playing for a trophy, instead of just playing B-side games,” said Coates. “It was difficult and we were uneven in games, often because we were changing the lineup so much. But overall it was good.”

This weekend sees A&M take on TCU in the Red River Conference. Then in February they face Baylor to clinch 2nd in the Conference. They might, then, be eligible for consideration for a DIA at-large playoff spot. However, Coates said he doesn’t think his team is ready.

“I am not sure we’re a playoff-caliber team at this point,” he said. “And you need to be prepared to handle the travel and I think we need to build toward that.”

In addition to conference play, A&M will play in the Texas Cup, which is a two-weekend, eight-team competition among teams in the SWC and elsewhere in Texas. Then they will play in the SWC 7s with an eye to the ACRC 7s finals.

So there are plenty of competition goals left for this spring, but there’s also a look toward winning the Red River in 2015-16. To do that, the experienced players will have to lead the way, such as captain and hooker Alex Demblon, Braeden Hood, an Australian-trained flanker whose parents are American and who tried out for the USA U20 team, sneaky scrumhalf Justin Brown, flyhalf/center Matt Theodore, and speeder outside back Pearson Garnett.