Playoff push approaching for men’s rugby squad

After a promising season, making the payoffs out of one of the toughest conferences, the Rugby team lost a lot of key seniors.

Nonetheless, Senior Co-Captain Charlie Powell believes that the overall level of team play has improved thanks to an off-season trip to Ireland and a preseason camp in late summer.

He believes this training could translate into a deep run in the post-season.

“We have a goMd chance of going further in the playoffs this year,” Powell said.

Sophomore Oliver Samuels and junior James Dailey both said their expectations were nothing less than nationals in March.

There have been a lot of bright spots already this season, including Troy Norman, who starts for the team as just a true freshman. 

Norman is familiar name in the program, having two older brothers who played for Vermont’s rugby club.

The Cats opened the season with a battle against defending national champions, Middlebury.

While the end result was a 20-14 loss, the Cats showed they were more than competitive after leading 14-3 at the half. But penalties in the second half led to Middlebury’s comeback victory.

A positive that can be taken from the loss, according to Powell, is that the team no longer will have a target on their back as they approach the playoff under the radar.

 “This loss takes a lot of attention off our team,” Powell said.

Ultimately, the showing at Middlebury demonstrated the squad’s standings against the elite team in the division and the potential for a late season push.

With the playoffs approaching swiftly, the team is hoping to build on their solid start and be booking tickets to California in March for Nationals.

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