Army-Navy rivalry resumes in rugby tournament at PPL Park
While the Midshipmen football team has run off an impressive 10 straight victories against Army, the Navy rugby squad hasn’t been as fortunate. It has dropped three straight to the Black Knights, including a 33-31 heartbreaker at home in April.
The Army game is the second of three Navy will play on Saturday in hopes of qualifying for the championship bracket on Sunday, and head coach Mike Flanagan says that it can be a struggle to make sure his guys pace themselves.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Flanagan said. “It has to be viewed as just another game, because it will be in pool play, but it’s still Army. So I guess we have to treat it special, but not too special.”
Making things more difficult is the fact that Army made it to the title game last season before falling to Dartmouth. According to Navy junior captain Seamus Siefring, there isn’t much his coach could do to lessen the hype.
“He tries to keep us calm, and he does a good job at it,” Siefring said. “But he knows that as soon as we walk on that field, there is a different energy to that game, a certain electricity. It’s a battle like no other.”
This Navy squad is young, but big and physical. It has no seniors, and Siefring is the lone junior, but he says that shouldn’t keep the Midshipmen from being a contender.
“We just have to keep our heads down and play Navy rugby,” Siefring said. “It is going to be a big crowd and loud, but we have some guys that can run you over.”
Freshman Ron Helms, despite having only one contest against Army under his belt, offered his own take on the heralded feud.
“I think it’s a unique rivalry, because we have a different lifestyle than most college students,” Helms said. “They are our true equals, because of the lives we live and where we are going after school. I think it is a test of how good you are against those that are in the same situation.”
Article source: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/colleges/156173075.html
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