Rugby Team Faces Tough Spring Schedule
JONESBORO – Hoping to pick up where it left off in December, Arkansas State University’s rugby team will face a tough slate with the 2018 spring schedule. The Red Wolves, undefeated in the fall, begin a new quest with home opener Iowa Central Community College, Saturday, Jan. 27.
“We have one of the toughest schedules in all of college rugby, and many in USA rugby consider the Mid-South Conference to be the rugby equivalent of SEC football,” said Blake White, first-year head coach. “This season will be all about perseverance and willingness to compete. We have to go into every match ready to compete and put our best effort on the field.”
In addition to opening with Iowa Central CC, a school with a varsity program since 2015 that is progressing its way into the rugby world as a team to watch, A-State will also take on the usual cast of strong Mid-South Conference opponents as the Red Wolves seek a trip to a new tournament, the USA D1A National Championship.
On Feb. 3, Arkansas State travels to Marietta, Ga., to play perennially strong Life University. Lindenwood comes to Curt Huckaby Field Feb. 10. Rounding out the schedule are a Feb. 17 match at Clemson, a trip to Lindenwood March 3, and three home matchups with Life (March 10), Clemson (March 17), Davenport (March 24) and a non-conference road game with Indiana (March 31).
“I am very excited to see how our team does this semester,” continued White. “We’ve had some key players injured and have lost a bit of depth, but the players around them are stepping up. Any match this spring can be won or lost; there are no ‘gimmes’ in this conference and our team will be up for the challenge.”
White said players return Jan. 15 to resume spring drills and prepare for classes. He is hopeful the weather conditions will improve. If temperatures remain cold, White indicated the team might be forced indoors for workouts.
The USA Rugby D1A National Championship is set for April 14 (first round), April 21 (quarterfinals) and April 28 with the semifinals. The champion will be crowned May 5.
Here is the 2018 spring schedule:
Jan. 27 — Iowa Central Community College (JONESBORO), 1 p.m.
Feb. 3 — Life University (Marietta, Ga.), 2 p.m.
Feb. 10 — Lindenwood University (JONESBORO), 1 p.m.
Feb. 17 — Clemson University (Clemson, S. C.), 2 p.m.
Feb. 24 — OPEN
March 3 — Lindenwood University (St. Charles, Mo.), 1 p.m.
March 10 — Life University (JONESBORO), 1 p.m.
March 17 — Clemson University (JONESBORO), 1 p.m.
March 24 — Davenport University (JONESBORO), 1 p.m.
March 31 — Indiana University (Bloomington, Ind.), 2 p.m.
April 14 — USA Rugby D1A National Championship (First Round)
April 21 — USA Rugby D1A National Championship (Quarterfinals)
April 28 — USA Rugby D1A National Championship (Semifinals)
May 5 — Rugby USA D1A National Championship (Site TBD)
All times local to site.