If it was not enough for a baseball rivalry, football rivalry and even blood drive rivalries, this weekend, the Ohio State Buckeyes will travel to University of Michigan to battle in the latest iteration of this long standing, spirited rugby rivalry. “Last year we had a twitter contest where the team that lost had to display the opposing teams logo for a week!” exclaimed Ohio State Coach Tom Rooney. Perhaps he was so eager to share since it was the Buckeyes that reigned victorious, both on and off the pitch last year (Ohio defeated Michigan 45-17).
Michigan coach Matt Trenary has been doing a fantastic job with the boys up North as they have managed an undefeated record of 3-0 (against Purdue, Iowa and Illinois). “I expect a difficult job in the forwards, we learned that against them last year,” says Rooney. In order to be successful, Rooney noted that the Buckeyes need to keep the pace up and avoid slow rugby.”
This match will really be the moment of truth for the Buckeye ruggers. The season has seen a barrage of new, up-and-coming players that has managed to keep the Buckeye team firing on all cylinders. A couple of really strong underclassman have proven their weight in gold this season, one particularly enticing duo sits at the scrumhalf/flyhalf junction – most frequently seeing Luke Hickey as number nine and Taylor Hurff as ten.
These on the fly adjustments, at key positions no less, can most directly be attributed to the occupational hazard that comes with this glorious sport. Returning to the pitch is eight man David Stotter who will ease the loss of two starters who will need to sit out due to injury – one to concussion and the other to an tweaked back coming out of a tough loss to Wisconsin last weekend.
“Right now we are behind the 8-ball. We lost a heartbreaker to Wisconsin, a game we should not have lost… week-in and week-out your never sure how it will shake out,” says Coach Rooney when asked about playing among other strong Big Ten programs. “Now we’ll travel to Michigan and we’ll have to go to Indiana, both teams have not lost a league match, both teams play really well.”
It sounds like a now or never kind of moment for the Buckeyes to assert dominance while the Big Ten takes shape as we inch closer to championship competition.
This weekend’s match will kick off at 2:00pm in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan, leaving us wondering which team logo will dominate Twitter accounts next week.