Check out the live coverage of LSU hosting TCU in this D1A Red River Rugby Conference match up. Don’t forget to tweet live using the hashtag, #LSURvTCUR
Broadcast starts at 1:30pm CST
Kickoff at 2:00pm CST
Louisiana State University
There is no question the Red River Conference grew in both size and strength with the addition of LSU. The Tigers of Baton Rouge, La., have a longstanding tradition of playing quality rugby, and by the looks of the performances over the fall, LSU could be equipped to make a run at a conference title.
“In the fall we were really focused on 15s and preparing for the Red River Conference,” said team president Zach Stratton. “We tried to schedule as many games as possible, and push ourselves to become better individually and as a team.”
Its 48-point win over Arkansas in November was a positive step, and LSU played even better last weekend when it beat the Crimson Tide, 55-12.
“The win last week against Alabama was big for us,” Stratton added. “There has always been a strong rivalry with them, and we were able to settle ourselves down in the second half and play like we know we can.”
Much of the Tigers’ experience lies in the forwards, but their back line could be a difference maker with plenty of pace to burn. Wes LaBorde and Cameron Troxler will be the team’s primary distributors at scrum half and fly half, respectively. However, each can make plays with their feet, as well. At full back, senior Alec Miller will attack the line hard.
It won’t be an easy task to replace All-American hooker Cameron Falcon, who recently graduated, but his little brother will help to ease the loss. Brennan Falcon is a flanker and U20 hopeful, and already one of the best forwards in the conference.
Texas Christian University
TCU is still seeking its first Red River win. Following improved recruiting efforts the past few seasons, the Horned Frogs believe they have the talent to compete – they just need to improve the mental aspect of their game.
“Winning is just a mindset,” TCU Head Coach TeShay Flowers said simply. “We have the talent, but lack the mental toughness. Last year was extremely disappointing, but we got better each week.”
Not only is the team improving, it doesn’t have many holes to plug this year. Last year’s team only lost two starters to graduation: captain Scott Hamilton and speedster Narada Jackson.
Junior Chris Valladolid is expected to fill Hamilton’s spot at the back of the scrum playing eight man. Up front, Fidel Estrada will pair with Ke’Arrius Brunson to help form a formidable front row.
In the backs, it starts and ends with TCU’s half back duo of Dillon Thiele and Bryce Watson. Thiele is a senior scrum half and likely the most important Horned Frog on the pitch. Watson, while only a freshman, was a highly-touted high school fly half and should adapt to the college game quickly.