Navy expected a stern test from Rutgers this weekend in the D1-A college opener for both programs, but in the end it turned out to be an incoming tide for the Midshipmen, as Navy rolled 64-3.
“I think we were flattered a bit by the score,” said Navy Head Coach Mike Flanagan. “But I was pleased. Our guys played well. We played very well defensively and it was that defense that produced turnovers that led to tries for us.”
The Naval effort was led by the back row of Seamus Siefring, Andrew Eubanks, and Spencer Wilson.
In the backs, freshman Gonzaga HS product Jack McAuliffe started at flyhalf and was outstanding.
“It’s rare that we get these kids,” Flanagan said of high-profile high school rugby players (McAuliffe was a High School All American) who make the Naval Academy their first choice. “But we’re getting more and we’re excited t have him.”
Flanagan praised his players for sticking to their defensive pattern, especially seeing as the only game time they’d had was a scrimmage with the Norfolk club. The players were eager, and being too eager could have led to problems.
“I think they were just tired of hitting each other,” Flanagan said.
If there was one criticism of the Navy effort, Flanagan said he’d like to see some better work on their offensive pattern. On counter-attacks and in open space they were good, but constructing offensive moves from scratch, he said, “needs work.”