Men’s rugby defeats EKU, finishes season on high note

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Marshall University’s men’s rugby team defeated Eastern Kentucky University Saturday 56-7 in its final game of the season.

The Herd finished the season with a 4-2 record, going 2-0 against the Pirates and outscoring Eastern Kentucky 90-19 in the two games.

Marshall head coach Justin Apgar said his team’s dominant victory was due to its impressive rucking against a physical Eastern Kentucky team that added bigger bodies since the teams’ first matchup.

“We worked really hard on our weaknesses this past week,” Apgar said. “We made sure we were prepared because they’re always physical, intense and very aggressive. We made sure that we were ready for it by working all week on tackling and running in support. It proved to suit us very well today because our rucks were good.”

At the half, Marshall led the Pirates 32-7. Despite a 25-point differential, Apgar said the Herd does not allow big leads to take hold of players’ minds going into the second half.

“We stress a 0-0 score at half because it’s always important for them to strive to do better,” Apgar said.  “It’s always about self-improvement and identifying little things we can do to make the bigger picture prettier. We don’t get complacent.”

Apgar said his halftime speech to his team included tidbits on how not to divert from the game plan. In the second half, the Herd outscored the pirates 24-0 and held possession for 70 of the 80 minutes.

“A win like this is really important,” Apgar said. “We have to carry this momentum through the offseason, spring and make sure that we actually build and grow. It’s critical to end on a high note as far as momentum and recruiting go. It also motivates these guys to continue to train, improve conditioning and learn more rugby in the offseason.”

The Herd missed out on a spot in the playoffs after losing to Xavier University Oct. 3.

Scott Bolger can be contacted [email protected]