This weekend will see a nail-biting showdown between Davenport University’s Panthers and Kutztown University’s Golden Bears, respectively ranked 4th and 5th in the league. Last year, the two teams traveled out to Pittsburgh to play in one of the closes matches of the season with the Golden Bears squeaking out a 22-20 victory attributed to a conversion in the final seconds of the match.
“We played [Kutztown] last year and felt that we could have won the game but didn’t. They are a solid program and a hard working team that will exploit your mistakes,” says Davenport head coach Kruger van Biljon. With ambitions of a fast, expansive game the Panthers are still settling into their pattern play with 25 new additions to the program and current sabbatical of Captain Angus MacLellan, who will be playing with Trinity College in Ireland until the regular season begins. van Bilijon will rely on some nimble locks and a quick front row to maintain pace and creativity on the pitch, utilizing the momentum off their recent victory against Michigan State 29-0.
Davenport is the latest addition to the D1A East Conference with strong prospects after recent Army and Delaware suspensions the starving for frequent game play. With just one game under their belt (against University of Albany 81-0.), theGolden Bears are eager to maintain pace. “We’re running on all cylinders… we are very balanced at the moment and have strong communication across the field,” says Head Coach Dr. Gregg Jones who has been with the program since 1986. “We hope to keep possession for the majority of the game, keeping the ball away from [flyhalf] Jean Pierre Eloff.” With a sense of veneration, Jones recall Eloff’s ability to command the backline in such a way “set it free”.
A second match of pre-season play, both Davenport and Kutztown are keen to test one another on the pitch. Kutztown is laden with high-achieving leaders: Gareth Lourens, center from South Africa, comes off of a 7s AllAmerican honorable mention along with second row and two time All American Mike Lawrenson, recently returning from a tour to New Zealand, have paved the way for up-and-coming sophomore Niku Kruger. Krugercoming off injury from last season will command the field as scrumhalf for the Golden Bears.
The teams converge at Kutztown University, PA this Saturday, October 5th at 1:00pm.