The Clarksville Highlanders Rugby Football Club took the pitch today for their first “friendly” match against the Overton Bobcats at Whitfield Park in Nashville, TN. With Tennessee Rugby Association’s (TRA) High School regular season beginning in late February, the Highlanders took advantage of the invitation from the Bobcats in an attempt to gain match experience.
Having practiced for only three weeks and with just one player who has had any type of involvement with rugby before, the Highlanders faced off against the more seasoned Bobcats who will be playing in TRA division 1; the division above Clarksville. With the temperature just below 60 degrees and a slightly overcast sky, the conditions were perfect for a rugby match.
Immediately following the opening kickoff, it was obvious the Highlanders were indeed going to “learn” a lot. The Highlander forwards were able to dominate in the scrum (the eight man face off for which rugby is often recognized) and do well in the line outs. The backs showed signs of promise with several break away and some good passing. While they were not able to get across the goal line for a try, they did knock on the door a couple times only to be turned away by the stubborn Bobcat defense. Ultimately, the Bobcats were able to exploit Clarksville’s inexperience in defense which led to a final score of 44-0.
While the final score may not reflect it, the Highlanders did indeed gain valuable experience in match play. From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, Clarksville’s level of play was on a steady climb leaving the entire team and coaches very optimistic for the future.
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