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Navy Shuts Out Notre Dame in Match held in Dublin

irish rugby tours

Navy Shuts Out Notre Dame in Match held in Dublin

David Hughes photo.

DUBLIN, Ireland - The journey for the Navy men’s rugby team (1-0) to defend its national championship began on a high note with a 78-0 victory against Notre Dame (0-1) on Friday in Dublin, Ireland.

The Mids scored 12 tries in the match, which is their second-most tries scored in a single game. Additionally, Navy’s 78 points are its most scored in a match since its victory against The Citadel (88-0) last September.

“We are happy with where we are for our first game of the season. We have been working hard to try to ensure we hit the ground running and we did that,” said Director of Rugby Gavin Hickie. “ There are a lot of areas for us to clean up and improve, which we will, but for now, we are happy with our performance in Ireland.”

Team captain Ben Haugh gave Navy its first score of the season just one minute into the match. Notre Dame received the opening kick and attempted to clear the ball out of its zone with a kick downfield. A short kick allowed the Mids to gain possession at the 22-meter line. William Webb drove Navy inside Notre Dame’s five-meter line and Haugh immediately picked up the ball out of the ruck for the first score of the season. Roanin Krieger made his first conversion kick attempt from the left sideline to give the Mids a 7-0 lead.

A knock-on against the Fighting Irish granted the Mids a scrum near midfield. Sean MacLaney fed Max Smith a pass and Smith charged up the middle to set up Navy near Notre Dame’s 22. Landon Opp moved Navy’s attack to the right and found Nick Janowsky wide open down the sideline. Janowsky was tackled a few meters short of the tryline, but the Mids pushed Webb over the line for their second score of the match six minutes in. Krieger put the conversion kick through the uprights to extend Navy’s lead to 14-0.

Penalties against the Mids allowed the Fighting Irish to push inside the 22 for the first time. Navy defended well over the next 10 minutes and eventually forced a scrum and were able to clear. The Fighting Irish attempted to move quickly to reclaim the territory they lost following the kick, but a knock-on stopped them and from the ensuing scrum Opp booted the ball down the field and saw it rolling into touch to get Navy a 50-22.

It was a prime scoring opportunity for Navy but Notre Dame managed to win the ball and kick clear. But as Navy came back the Irish were penalized and the Mids were able to take a lineout and set up a maul. Over the maul went and Webb as in for his second. Krieger converted and it was 21-0 at 19 minutes.

Haugh broke a pair of tackles and gained over 20 meters on a carry to move Navy into Notre Dame's half. But as close as they got Notre Dame's defense held strong. Finally after a long series og phases Navy shifted its attack back to the right and Krieger found and unmarked Janowsky, who dove over. Krieger added his fourth conversion and it was 28-0.

Another 50-22, this time from scrumhalf MacLaney, set up  Navy's next try. Their maul did the job off the lineout and Webb had his third. Krieger was good on the kick and Navy led 35-0.

Notre Dame maintained possession in its offensive zone over the next few minutes, but once again was unable to break through Navy’s defensive wall. After the Fighting Irish mishandled a pass, MacLaney scooped up the loose ball and made a no-look pass to his right to Tanner Russell.
Russell then found Krieger on the right sideline and the sophomore broke a pair of ankle tackles to move Navy near the Notre Dame 22. Notre Dame did get out of it but an interception by MacLaney set up a ruck in the Notre Dame 22 and then Austin Taylor received a pass out of the ruck and ran through a pair of tacklers to score Navy’s sixth try of the half. Krieger remained perfect on his kicks to make it 42-0 at 35 minutes.

The second half began with Janowsky charging through tacklers for 50 meters to set up an attack. Max Smith finished it off with a 30-meter run for the try. Krieger was accurate again and Navy led 49-0.

Navy kept control of the ball in Notre Dame’s defensive zone over the next five minutes and moved the ball inside the five-meter line after a 15-meter carry from Jacob D’Amico. The Fighting Irish defense conjoined in the middle of the pitch and left the sidelines undefended. Navy took advantage by immediately attacking to the right and Janowsky walked into the try zone with no defenders in front of him. Finally Krieger missed and it was 54-0.

A high tackle against Notre Dame set up a Navy lineout inside the Irish 22. They didn't maul it this time and instead just used the forwards to march closer to the line. Vaughn Schmitz collected a pass out of the ruck and used his length to stretch across the tryline. Krieger’s eighth successful conversion kick put Navy in front 61-0 at 54 minutes.

Notre Dame did get an attacking lineout and they drove to the Mids' 22. But a miscue gave Navy a chance to get out of it and from the ensuing scrum Krieger and Matt Richardson passes back and forth with James Downing for over 50 meters before Krieger went over for his first try and his personal points tally to 21.

Downing provided another big carry following a  scrum to push Navy inside the UND 22. Smith then juked three Fighting Irish defenders for his second try of the game. Krieger converted to make it 73-0. The final try was with a minute to go with JD Bengston going over.

Krieger ended up with 23 points, setting a single-game points record and a conversions record for Navy. Webb scored 15 points on three tries to account for the seventh hat trick in Navy’s varsity history.

This game was part of an Ireland tour for both Notre Dame and Navy, and was held in conjunction with Saturday's football game in Dublin between the two institutions.