*Photo courtesy of Doctor Hawk
Yankees vs. Red Sox, Packers vs. Bears, Giants vs. Dodgers. Sports rivalries that have stood the test of time and are so strong children from infancy are urged to pick a side. In the world of collegiate rugby, there may be no bigger rivalry than that of Life vs. Lindenwood. The two teams have battled season after season, consistently finding themselves meeting at the top of the table in the postseason.
Each team is off to a roaring start this season. Life’s Running Eagles have a record of 7-1, with a current 3 game win streak. The Lindenwood Lions sit at 15-2, having played significantly more matches than their opponent. Prior to the March 18th bout, these teams have met already this season; Life winning the match at home. In anticipation of the CRAA Match of the Week on Saturday, I had the chance to talk to both coaches of these powerhouse teams (interviews below).
Lindenwood will look to capitalize on their vast match experience in addition to having the home-team advantage for the first time in their 2023 series with Life. Alternatively, Life will look to come to St. Louis with a point to prove and secure the win for the second time this season. Be sure to tune in to what is sure to be a barn burner this Saturday, 5pm EST on The Rugby Network.
This match will be aired for free as a part of the partnership between the College Rugby Association of America, Major League Rugby and The Rugby Network. Tune in 5pm EST/2pm PST to therugbynetwork.com.
*In an effort to keep the live streaming free to everyone, please consider making a donation to help with D1A Match of the Week production costs – https://bit.ly/3FfJ3vT
Jenny Kronish: Your team is off to a great start this season – how do you maintain success with so many matches?
Lindenwood Coach Josh Macy: Playing as many tough matches as possible with as many players as possible is a reason for our success. It creates a competitive training environment, keeps students match fit, and engages them as productive members of the team. Every shirt is up for grabs and students earn it every week.
JK: Huge rivalry this weekend in the CRAA Match of the Week, does your preparation change leading up to Saturday?
JM: Nothing changes for us. We started our Monday with a meeting and a riddle for the players to solve. Coaches went to lunch on Tuesday same as always. It’s important for us to be in a good groove this time of year and just stick to the plan. High performing players don’t need us to jazz them up, we just want to support them as best we can always.
JK: What is the “vibe” around the team? Excited? Nervous?
JM: Our team leaders have done a good job of keeping everything humming. We want to play a simple game really well. This is a big match in our calendar. Life deserves our best, but we just need to keep stacking up good days of trainings.
JK: You get to play at home this weekend, how does that impact your team?
JM: Playing at home is great for us. There is a vibrant rugby community in the STL metro and they back us through and through. We try to program some stuff for the guys early in the day but games in Hunter Stadium are definitely a main event. The comforts of home are great but we have to be excellent for eighty minutes.
Jenny Kronish: Your boys are off to a great start this season, how do you maintain success through such a long season?
Life Coach Colton Cariaga: I think maintaining success through a long season takes a mature playing group and unrelenting leaders. It’s also important to build depth and manage loads (physical, mental, emotional).
JK: In preparing for the CRAA Match of the Week, does anything change? How does your team manage expectations / high pressure?
CC: We did a really good job of embracing everything last weekend and focusing on our attitude and effort. Rather than being indifferent towards leaving the comforts of home, we really just want to embrace the opportunity that comes with playing on the road.
JK: What are you looking forward to in this match?
CC: We’re looking forward to competing at a high level, having another shot at improving the areas we’ve identified, and ultimately working together to play our game.
JK: Anything you’d like to say to your Life Community / rugby fans before they watch you live on The Rugby Network?
CC: Our team wouldn’t be playing in this match if not for the tremendous support from Life University, our administration, our alumni, friends and family. Please catch this match of the week on The Rugby Network!