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Queens Makes Army Work For It

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Queens Makes Army Work For It

The Army players, coaches, and supporters post-game.

West Point held off a pretty tenacious Queens University Charlotte Saturday in a game Army is using to gear up for the D1A playoffs.

Queens put a bit of a scare into Army and tested the Black Knights with their speed into the breakdown and their kicking game. But a strong early part of the second half saw Army pull away, and then hold on.

Army pressured early but a grubber to the corner rolled dead and that would be part of the story, as both teams tried to use the kicking game to their advantage. Queens was next and did superbly to get right on the Army line, only to be stymied by a determined West Point defense.

Kicks from Army put Queens under pressure and this time they got a penalty from a scrum right in front of the posts. Easy pickings and a 3-0 lead.

Queens came right back, got a penalty, and from a scrum bashed it over with the forwards for a 5-3 lead.

Pressure, a penalty, lineout, and a drive put Army back in front with a try and the game was a continual battle, especially in the tackle. With both teams getting penalized in the breakdown it became a bit of a stop-start game with the goal to put pressure and force penalties to allow teams to launch something. Army scrumhalf Tiaan Mosconi's box kicking was very good and wing Michael Mbony continued to make Queens chasers miss as he got his team moving forward on the counter.

Also impressive was fullback Jonny Haley, whose counter-attacking and kicking helped keep Army out of too much trouble.

Queens, meanwhile had some chances and looked dangerous especially once their forwards got going. They managed to block or almost block a couple of Mosconi kicks, but that can be a double-edged swords if you over-chase the block. Meanwhile, Army's kick-chase was pretty strong and they showed it when Mosconi booted it downfield. The Queens backs gathered and passed to the middle of the field, and there, galloping through, was Scharl Du Toit, and he intercepted the pass and charged in under the stocks. The conversion was good and Army led 15-5.

Queens also found some space when they moved the ball wide, and eventually they punished some Army indiscipline, pinned the Black Knights in their end, and a chargedown from Campbell Van Rooyen set up a try to make it 15-12.

So Army figured that was a good plan, charged down a kick of their own, chased it, and forced a penalty before tapping and getting it over. That was a tough one for the Royals as the teams entered halftime 22-12 when it could well have been 15-12.

In the second half once against Queens was stopped at the tryline. Army charged back with the front row, led by Larry Williams, getting the hard yards. Lock Riley Smith was suerb, especially in the lineout where he was almost untouchable, and that allowed Army to play a bit wider and a bit freer.

The result was two tries and a 34-12 lead.

Queen battled on and didn't let the game get away from them. They had some solid attacking chances — one kick chase from Van Rooyen almost yielded points, but the game ended 34-12.

It was a good warmup for Army, which had a player-minutes player they stuck to given that they play Life in four days. For Queens, it was another chance for them to show they can play with some of the best in the country. They did that, and had they converted on two of those goalline possession, who knows?

The game was played in front of a raucous crowd at the Queens stadium and was the first 15s game either team had played since November.