“The addition of Navy Rugby into the D1A Mid-South Conference is a definitive win-win,” said Mid-South Conference Commissioner, Colton Cariaga of Life University. “Navy Rugby has the competitive track record, top class facilities, and every intention of growing the game in their community. All this in addition to an institutional profile that is matched by few. We are pleased and honored to welcome the Midshipmen into the Mid-South Conference.”
Navy is coming off one of their most successful seasons in recent history. In 2017/18, they were able to reach the D1A quarterfinals, falling just short of knocking off eventual runners up Cal. This deep run into the post season culminated in a final national ranking of 8th. Not only a top performing team, Navy has a host of talented individual athletes as well. Chief among them, Connor McNerney, was awarded the Rudy Scholz Award as the best men’s collegiate player in the U.S.
“We are looking forward to joining the Mid-South Conference and testing ourselves against the best rugby programs in the country. We are under no illusion of the sizable challenge that lies before us, but this is a statement of our intent,” said Navy Director of Rugby Gavin Hickie. “Consistently challenging ourselves in high pressure situations through rugby plays a key role in the development of our Midshipmen both on and off the playing field. Competing on a weekly basis against high quality opponents will only make us stronger.”
Navy will certainly see a step up in their competition by joining the Mid-South, which is arguably the toughest conference in the country. It is home to the 2017/18 D1A National Champions Life, 2018 College 7s Champions, D1A semifinalists and 3rd ranked Lindenwood as well as Arkansas State, Davenport and Clemson who have all held top 20 rankings in recent years. With the addition of Navy to the conference, the Mid-South now boasts three of the top eight programs in the country, and four out of the top 10.