GRR on X  GRR on Facebook GRR in Instagram GRR Vimeo Library GRR on YouTube RuggaMatrix America Podcasts Support GRR on Patreon

Notre Dame Celebrates 60th Year With Win Over Purdue

irish rugby tours

Notre Dame Celebrates 60th Year With Win Over Purdue

Notre Dame in green, Purdue in white. Alex Goff photo.

The University of Notre Dame defeated Purdue University 38-7 Friday night in South Bend.

This non-conference game was played in front of a big, vocal crowd as this was the evening where the Notre Dame rugby program celebrated its 60th anniversary. That atmosphere didn't make it any easier for a Purdue team that has started quite well this year.

Notre Dame started early putting Purdue under pressure, and within a few minutes and seeing center Gabe O'Hara gallop in through a gap. Moments later they were in again. The Notre Dame backline was very effective on the night. With flyhalf Leo Fangmeyer back in the lineup, the center pairing of O'Hara and Sean Moran ran with a ton of confidence.

Wing Andrew Packard was a frequent attacking threat and scored a nice try chasing a kick that was all effort.

At fullback, Jamie Warren was also dangerous.

Purdue come close to scoring a few times in the first half, but the Notre Dame defense held firm. While the Fighting Irish were guilty too many times of not retreating sufficiently on penalties, they battled. Purdue just wasn't able to secure those final rucks that would get them that last shot at the tryline.

"We've really got to get the big guys in there and finish those plays," said Purdue prop Greg Oldiges. "I think we didn't have our system going right ...  and Notre Dame did not make mistakes."

Fangmeyer's attacking understanding—he scored a nifty try in the first half—and his kicking kept Purdue backpedaling, while there was an interesting battle in the lineouts between Notre Dame's Nate Nash and Purdue's Brady Brouillette.

As for no mistakes, Notre Dame did struggle with penalties and also drifted out of their system in at times. Head Coach Justin Hickey said the two early tries led the players to think it would just happen for them, and they became impatient expecting to score a try on every possession.

But they settled down, and they held Purdue away from the tryline until late in the game.

No. 8 Christian Opperman and flanker Jack Wilson were active, physical presences in the pack for the Irish.

For Purdue this was a bit of a disappointment, but Oldiges said the trajectory of the program is still upward. For Notre Dame, it was yet further evidence that the Fighting Irish are a team to be reckoned with.