Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

An Intensity Like No Other: Army Prepares for Navy

irish rugby tours

An Intensity Like No Other: Army Prepares for Navy

Army stands at attention for the National Anthem. Colleen McCloskey photo.

Coming off a 39-13 win against Navy in October of 2020, Army might be heavily favored in this weekend against Navy at FedEx Field, but the West Point players are too smart to get caught up in all of that.

It is, after all, Army-Navy.

“I think I can speak for everyone on the team in saying that this rivalry truly is something special,” said prop Larry Williams. “This is one of the games that we look forward to the most because it is an indescribable experience. The game is played with lots of emotion and passion from both teams and it is always a great game.”

“Navy always plays all 80 minutes,” added hooker Matt Meehan. “While we got the better of them last year, they still fought until the last whistle. I respect the hell out of those guys for that and would expect nothing less this year. They are fantastic opponent and I can’t wait to line up against them.”

And that’s how it is. This is a momentous occasion every year, made more so because Saturday the Army-Navy game is the curtain-raiser for the USA vs All Blacks 1874 Cup test match. Tens of thousands of fans will be there for the game.

Army-Navy Game Something Special for Midshipmen

“Every game is important, but the Army-Navy game carries an added weight and brings an extra intensity that you just can’t get anywhere else,” said Army wing Nolan Green. “When talking about rugby [with non-rugby people] you almost always get into a discussion about the most recent, or upcoming Army-Navy game. This rivalry is a big deal, and this game definitely has an added spotlight on it.”

Added Meehan: “People always ask where we are ranked compared to Navy, how Navy is looking, or when the game is going to be. Everybody looks forward to it.”

Trust Your Training

So how do you channel that intensity? In a way this entire experience has a military application. How do you take the anticipation of a major event and make sure you don’t let it carry you away into poor decisions, or going rogue and failing to back up your teammates?

“Navy week always has everyone pushing,” said Meehan. “You can go a little longer, fight a little harder, and sprint a little faster when it’s Navy Week. But we have faith in the way we are training right now and we will continue to climb.” 

Tickets to Army-Navy and USA vs All Blacks Oct 23 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. here>> 

Navy Week Is Different 

“What I can say about the feeling in training is that as soon as our previous game was over, everyone was dialed on to our next opponent – Navy,” said Williams. “Based on previous years, Navy week just feels different. Everyone is extremely focused and eager to step on the field against them. We know how important this game is and it leads to us having an awesome week of training.”

Added Green: “Being out there with my teammates, my brothers, will help me keep focused on the game and not get lost in the moment.”

Distractions

There is, of course, that added distraction of playing at FedEx Field. The Army-Navy game has been played in stadiums before, of course, but not an NFL stadium with an NFL-size crowd expect and the Eagles and All Blacks there as well.

“It is definitely a huge honor to be playing on such a big stage,” said Green. “It means a lot to be able to share this moment with my teammates and showcase what we have been building up to all season. Practicing and hanging out with the guys every day builds a trust and camaraderie that’s hard to replicate, and this is the perfect opportunity to put that to the test.”   

New field, new distractions, but same goal,” said Meehan. “We are going to play our game, focus on us, and let our play speak for itself. We’ll be ready.”