SAINT CHARLES, Mo. – Lindenwood and Life will kick off another great weekend of college rugby when the two Mid-South teams meet Friday night under the lights of Hunter Stadium on the Lindenwood campus in Division 1A Rugby’s Match of the Week.
Life (1-0) made a statement last week when the Running Eagles easily handled Arkansas State 34-7. In its first conference match of the season, Life looked to be in mid-season form, especially on the defensive side of the ball where the Running Eagles kept the Red Wolves off of the scoreboard until allowing a try in the 78th minute.
Lindenwood (0-1) had the past weekend off after battling the aforementioned Red Wolves in its conference opener. In its 25-17 loss to Arkansas State, Lindenwood was able to come away with several positives, especially considering it was the program’s first ever D1A match as well as the team’s first true test under new head coach JD Stephenson.
Stephenson took notice of the way in which Life picked apart Arkansas State and watches film on opposing teams as often as possible, but keeps his focus within his own roster and not what is happening around the Mid-South.
“At the end of the day you only worry about your 23 guys that you put forward,” said Stephenson. “A big thing we have this year is belief, and we believe we can go out there tomorrow and come away with a win.”
The Lions’ depth will be tested Friday night as three members of the team will be in Seattle, Wash., to participate in the USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-American camp. Included in this group is inside center Gabe Farley. The Australian-born Farley has become an integral part of the Lindenwood backline since fullback Morgan Finley was lost for the season with an eye injury.
Filling in for Farley will be James Poli. Stephenson has loads of confidence in his reserves and says the team “won’t be taking a backward step” with Poli filling in at the center.
Lindenwood may not be the only team calling on a reserve to fill large boots. Life’s OJ Auimatagi missed last week’s match against Arkansas State due to injury. Auimatagi’s injury is not thought to be serious, but it is unknown if Life’s co-captain will be suited up for the Running Eagles Friday night.
Kickoff for the match is 5:30 P.M. ET and has been made available to watch live via Lindenwood University’s live stream.