September 22, 2015
The Marshall University men’s rugby team was struck by Xavier University Saturday with a performance that led to a 39-10 victory in the away team’s favor.
After the loss, the Herd fell to 1-1 on the season and an 0-2-1 record against the Musketeers in the teams last three matchups.
The Musketeers jumped out to a big lead early, leading 21-0 at the half.
Justin Apgar, Marshall’s head coach, said he knew his team needed to do a better job at the ruck, which is when the teams fight for the ball once it is on the ground.
“We’re losing this game at the ruck,” Apgar said. “That is the simplest, most fundamental thing that we do, and we do it well. Today, we are not executing our game. They’re taking the ball from us at the ruck.”
The Herd improved in the ruck in the second half. A well-contested ruck gave winger Josh Midkiff time to grab the ball and take it 50 yards for a score.
“I just capitalized on the drop and took it,” Midkiff said.
Despite a better performance than in the first half, the Herd was outscored 18-10 in the second.
Jason Hayes, Marshall’s assistant coach, said Xavier’s additional game experience this season benefitted the Musketeers.
“We’ve played one game,” Hayes said. “Whereas they’ve played a few friendlies and one match prior to this game. Xavier having that game conditioning versus the one match we’ve had is a big factor.”
Hayes said the Musketeers’ emphasis on fundamentals also helped Xavier secure the win.
“They’re a little bit more fundamental,” said Hayes. “Their kicking is definitely spreading the field out, but we could have countered that if we had the conditioning to do it. We just don’t have the core conditioning.”
Marshall will host Cedarville University 1 p.m. Saturday on the 29th Street field in Huntington. The match will be the last home game before its three game road trip.
Scott Bolger can be contacted at email@example.com.