Photo Tay Hawker (homepage)
JONESBORO, Ark. – Playing in its first Division 1A Rugby match in program history, Lindenwood had the difficult task of traveling to Arkansas State to take on the Red Wolves. In a 25-17 losing effort, Lindenwood proved it belonged in the Mid-South Conference, while Arkansas State enjoyed the challenge from its new rival.
The match figured to be a bit sluggish considering each side has had minimal outdoor training sessions due to less-than-ideal weather in their respective regions. Although, the defensive structures were present for both teams.
“Both squads defended well, which is why the score was so close,” said Arkansas State Head Coach NeMani Delaibatiki.” They slowed out momentum and stopped us from playing our style of rugby and we did the same to them. So, both defenses should be commended for how they played on Saturday.”
Inside center Gabe Farley did a tremendous job for Lindenwood, consistently slowing down Arkansas State’s potent backline attack with an aggressive defensive effort, while freshman Dan ‘Cosmo’ Kramer impressed from the frontline with his work rate and ability to play well beyond his frame.
Fortunately for the Red Wolves, Gavin Brown was able to provide a spark offensively. The winger produced two tries in a match that saw his typically dangerous backline mates held in check.
Captain Shaun Potgieter was terrific for Arkansas State as well, but it was lock Connor Cook who earned Delaibatiki’s Man of the Match honor.
Lindenwood had the belief going into the match that it could beat Arkansas State. Still, the solid effort in its D1A Rugby debut will surely bode well for the team.
“It’s given us a lot of confidence moving forward that not only do we belong in this conference, but we should be contending at the backend of the season for a run towards a national title,” said Lindenwood Head Coach JD Stephenson.
While Lindenwood does not have a match this weekend, Arkansas State travels to play Life University. The two teams have had epic battles in recent history, and this Saturday should be no different.