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Navy Looks to Clemson, Life

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Navy Looks to Clemson, Life

Believe it or not, there is rugby being played this weekend outside of the city of Las Vegas (or Henderson) in Nevada, and perhaps one of the more intriguing weekends of rugby will be on the East Coast, when the US Naval Academy men take on Clemson on Saturday and Life University on Sunday.

This is the opening salvo in Navy’s barge of games after a one-game-a-month fall. Head Coach Mike Flanagan is looking for challenging matches as he gets his squad ready for the Varsity Cup.

“We spent the fall looking at some guys, and now we’ve got a bunch of games set up - Norfolk Blues, Old Blue, Army, and this weekend,” he said. “We are trying to set up the team to perform well at the end of the season. Both Clemson and Life are great opponents for us.”

The Navy 9-10 combination of Dan Page and Jack McAuliffe are snappy and Nick Marmarou at No. 8 has been very impressive.

Dakota Raymond and John Ruck form a very strong midfield, and up front, co-captain Alex Hoffman is a tight head prop who is, said Flanagan, “tough as nails.”

But this will be a difficult weekend for the Midshipmen as they play two very strong opponents. Life has shown that they are one of the top teams in the nation (Goff Rugby Report has the Running Eagles ranked #1). Clemson is ACRL champs and ready to show they are more than that.

“This match with Navy is another step in the process,” said Clemson Head Coach Justin Hickey. “We did have a great fall, but the common theme from our athletes is they want more - more training, greater challenges, stronger competition. That's what we have lined up this spring.” 

After Navy, Clemson visits life and then plays University of Cincinnati, Wheeling Jesuit, and Charlotte Rugby Club, before starting the Varsity Cup with Arkansas State.

“We've been full on with our strength and conditioning program since students arrived back on campus in early January, but until last weekend, we've only done skills training out on the field, so this is our first week of team training,” said Hickey. “Navy will be at a similar stage with the weather they experience in Annapolis. It's early. We'll focus on our core principles, and our execution throughout the match. We'll mix up the line up a bit, as I'm sure Navy will too. It's all about finding the right combinations in some parts of the team.”

Hickey said the players have been working very hard, and know that they have a tough spring ahead of them.

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