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Good Weekend for Rugby East Teams

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Good Weekend for Rugby East Teams

Winner this weekend and competitors later on, Kutztown and NDC (photo from 2022). Alex Goff photo.

Rugby East teams had a solid weekend playing against teams outside their conference.

Yes Navy and Army both lost to Trinity, the rugby team for Dublin University, but the scorelines, competitive at 36-14 and 38-7. 

But … Queens University Charlotte defeated Wheeling (Big Rivers Conference) in a competitive game 29-11, Penn State defeated Clemson (SCRC) fairly emphatically 51-12, and Kutztown defeated Adrian (Midwest D1A) 41-12. Southern Virginia did go down to Belmont Abbey (Southern Conference) 46-19.

Queens Over Wheeling

“We feel like the effort was there but the execution and the penalty count were not our standard,” said Queens Head Coach Frank McKinney. “Wheeling is a good team and they gave us a good game.” 

But this being early days for many teams, the connections weren’t quite coming together.

“We’re glad to get the season going,” added McKinney. “And we are hoping to improve each week.”

Openside flanker Gideon Wessels put in a huge shift getting the unglamorous work done. Scrumhalf Hilton Olivier is now the team captain also and he was effective and also was useful kicking for points. Cullen Cunningham started at wing and then moved to center and was good at both, getting a try and making several thumping tackles. Wing Noah Paskins also put in a solid performance and scored.

Penn State Over Clemson

We cover this here>>

Kutztown Over Adrian

Kutztown overcame a red card to beat Adrian 41-10. The red card was perhaps a tad harsh—but lock Kevin Swanton was off nonetheless and the Bears had to adjust for the last 50, which they did. 

Scrumhalf Aidan Smith scored three tries on the day while prop Rotuk Rahedi was a force while also crossing the tryline. Wing Colin Warner, center Archie Grayson, and fullback Benedict Quinn all scored tries as well.

Adrian brought strong carries and plenty of intensity, but Kutztown’s red zone defense was good.

“They put a lot of pressure on us,” said Kutztown Head Coach Gregg Jones. 

It was a hot, humid day and that often leads to ball-handling errors, and this game was no different. 

But Kutztown had the better of it, and also got a massive showing from loosehead prop John Zeich, who anchored the KU scrum, had to leave twice because of a cut around his eye, but came back to knock more opponents around.

“We made our share of mistakes,” concluded Jones. “But at the moment all I can say is our season looks promising.”

Belmont Abbey Over SVU

Southern Virginia logged a nice win last week but were overcome by Belmont Abbey. For their part, Belmont Abbey learned a lot from competitive losses to Mount St. Mary’s and Mary Washington, and translated that into a 46-19 victory.

In fact SVU didn’t score until early in the second half. By then tries from Kenneth Byrd, Joseph Howson, Riordan Sweet, and Hayden Mousley had helped stake Belmont to a 32-0 lead.

Howson and Johannes van Graan touched down later in the second half while Byrd added a conversion and Oli Fussell added two conversions and a penalty kick.

It was a good showing for a Belmont Abbey team that has a good shot to make something happen in NCR’s D1 playoffs.

Notre Dame College Over Thomas More

On Sunday NDC visited Big Rivers team Thomas More. NDC's forward power saw them through. Their short-yardage game was quite consistent and got them over the line when they made it deep into the red zone. Tight five forwards such as lock Quentin Von Der Lieth, hooker Hamish Watson, and prop Tanner Smith were making sure the hard yards were made.

NDC went up 17-5 only to see Thomas More inch back 17-10. But in the second half a try, and a penalty from flyhalf Clemente Aguirre made it 24-10, and another Aquirre penalty followed by another try through the forwards finished it off 34-10. NDC's power up front was evident.