LAFAYETTE, Colo. – TCU has moved its scheduled home match against streaking Baylor to Austin, Tex. to form a Red River double-header alongside Texas’ bout with Texas A&M. The relocation will give an opportunity for all teams to attend Saturday night’s Americas Rugby Championship fixture between the Eagles and Brazil in nearby Round Rock.
The Feb. 11 match against the Bears will be TCU’s first match of 2017. Last week’s contest against Texas Tech was postponed following the tragic passing of Red Raiders’ captain Quinn Noel.
While the Horned Frogs were devastated to hear the news of Noel’s passing, they haven’t exactly been in a rush to restart its Red River season. An already youthful side unexpectedly lost some key players, forcing guys new to the game into the trenches.
“We had such a high turnover that the break was needed to teach my players the sport,” said TCU Head Coach TeShay Flowers. “We had a number of new players join since November. This is good for the longevity of the program, but gives us a small window to be ready for a game against a very tough opponent like Baylor.”
The Bears are indeed a tough opponent to face. After posting a 3-1 conference record in the fall, Baylor has opened 2017 with wins over Arkansas and Texas A&M. Fly half Parker Vincent and his accurate kicking boot have played a big part in the Bears success this season. Still, the Horned Frogs are more concerned with potential mismatches lining up against a Baylor forward pack lead by captain and eight man Pete Hamm.
“We can’t simulate their size because they are so much bigger than us and we can’t simulate their skills because we don’t have a player like Pete Hamm,” noted Flowers.
Hamm only has one try on the season, but he typically shoulders the responsibility of making the hard meters necessary to put defenses on their back foot and open up scoring opportunities for teammates.
The fixture between the Longhorns and the Aggies pits two teams coming off losses. Last week Texas was soundly defeated by 18th-ranked LSU. Meanwhile, Texas A&M dropped a close match against Baylor, 15-8.
The two South Division teams met back in October when the Aggies took the Longhorns apart, 37-5. Texas A&M center Ross Navarro scored his first try of the season in the 32-point win and has added three more scores to his season tally since. Texas’ center pairing of Jack Beadle and Sean Reidy will have to do all they can to slow down the playmaking No. 13.