Texas Aggie Rugby, Mid-Season Update (2021-2022)

by Travis Normand
January 27, 2022

In the early Fall of 2021, the Aggies were ranked No. 19 in GoffRugbyReport.com’s Pre-Season Top-20 (and they were the only Red River Rugby Conference team ranked). Later in the season, the November 1, 2021 official D1A rankings had Texas A&M at No. 23 and Baylor at No. 24.

There are only five (5) teams in the RRRC this season (competing in XVs). These five are Texas A&M, t.u., Oklahoma, UNT, and Baylor. Texas Tech is a RRRC team, but only for 7s purposes and not XVs.

A&M started the Fall 2021 part of their XVs season with three scrimmages or “friendlies.” The first of which was against Texas Tech (on September 25, 2021) in which the Aggies won 64-0 (in Fort Worth). The second was at home against Sam Houston State (on October 1, 2021), and the Bearkats won that one 24-15. However, the Aggies then traveled back to Fort Worth (on October 9, 2021) to face Arkansas, and won that match 58-21.

Finally, on October 16, 2021, RRRC play started for the Aggies when the traveled to Denton, Texas and defeated UNT 58-7. A week later, on October, 23, 2021, the Aggies drove to Norman, Oklahoma to defeat the Sooners 51-6.

There has been rumblings throughout the college rugby world, especially in the RRRC, that clubs were having a hard time traveling to play other clubs. Some have blamed the cost of travel, while others have blamed the distance, and some have blamed both. Obviously, cost and distance of travel are real concerns for all rugby clubs and they place a real limitation on what a club is able to do. However, only two months into the 2021-2022 season, it was clear that the Aggies were willing to do what it takes to ensure their matches were going to take place. For example, of the three friendlies, only one was played at home while the other two were played in Forth Worth (meeting Arkansas and Texas Tech “half-way”). Further, in their first two games of the RRRC season, the Aggies traveled on back-to-back weekends, once to Denton, then again to Norman, Oklahoma.

On the very same day that the Aggies A-Side defeated Oklahoma in Norman (October 23, 2021); the B-Side drove to Austin to play t.u.’s B-Side. The Aggies won that one 39-0.

The following weekend, on October 30, 2021, the A & B-Sides traveled to Houston for a double-header (both exhibitions or “friendlies,” and the games did not count towards the collegiate RRRC standings). The B-Side played the Arrows RFC (and lost 21-41), while the A-Side played Rugby HTX (and lost 19-26). Seeing that both the Arrows RFC and Rugby HTX are both RRRC/TRU Men’s Division 1 Clubs, the experience of playing both was great for the growth of the Texas Aggie club.

In fact, Rugby HTX is the training team for the Houston Sabercats (MLR). When the game was announced in the pre-season, a Rugby HTX representative stated that they would play their youngest team possible against A&M. However, after the game was over, Texas A&M’s Coach James Lowrey said that the HTX squad was definitely not a U-23 team. In other words, the Aggies took on a professional level team and managed to keep it close.

The Aggies were then originally scheduled to play Auburn in College Station, Texas on November 5, 2021; however, apparently Auburn ran into some travel / funding issues and the game was canceled. However, not to miss an opportunity, the Aggies quickly scheduled a game with Texas State and drove to San Marcos to play another “friendly.” Unfortunately, the Aggies lost this one 12-47.

The Aggies’ B-Side was able to play Baylor’s B-Side in College Station on November 11, 2021. This was an important match as it would hopefully give us a preview of things to come when the A-Sides of A&M and Baylor faced off later in the season. It was a very physical match, but A&M’s B-Side was able to win the game 17-10.

Finally, on November 13, 2021, the Aggies were able to get back to RRRC play when t.u. came to College Station. It has been a while since the Longhorns had defeated the Aggies in XVs, so one might not normally worry. However, earlier in the season, on October 8, 2021, the Longhorns defeated the Sooners 29-5 in a match that no one would have ever predicted. The win for the Longhorns served notice on the rest of the RRRC that the Longhorn’s work and training with the MLR’s Austin Gilgronis was paying off. However, the Aggies were able to handle the Longhorns again on this day, by defeating them 55-13!

After the game with t.u. (on November 13, 2021), the Aggies immediately played a scrimmage against Old Maroon. Needless to say that the Aggies were worn pretty thin at this point, after having destroyed their rival 55-13, but they put forth a valiant effort anyway. Old Maroon won the match 40-12 (despite some odd score board math).

Finally, on December 4, 2021, the Aggies faced Baylor in what was the last game of the Fall semester. The game was played in College Station, and it was again, very physical. Both teams came into the game undefeated in the RRRC (at 3-0), and both teams were ranked in the D1A polls. There were multiple points where the game could have easily gone either way. Fortunately, the Aggies won 15-10, and now sit 4-0 in the RRRC at the end of the first semester.

A quick re-cap of the Baylor game follows. As you can see, if either team had started hitting CVs or PKs, the outcome would have likely been very different.

Baylor Game – 12/4/2021

1st Half Scoring (Counting down from 40 minutes):

(1) 25:50: Baylor scores first try of the game and leads 5-0; Baylor misses CV;
(2) 4:20: It took about 20-minutes but the Aggies finally answer by scoring a try of their own, tying the game 5-5; Aggies miss CV;

Half Time: Score 5-5

2nd Half Scoring and Action:

(1) 37:00: Baylor comes out on fire and almost immediately scores another try, making it 10-5; but Baylor misses their CV;
(2) 33:30: Moments later, Baylor attempts a PK from about the 50; its early in the second half, but hitting this PK would have really put the pressure on A&M; fortunately the PK was no good;
(3) 21:21: The Aggies finally find a way to answer and score another try, making it 10-10, but the Aggies then miss their CV;
(4) 11:30: The Aggies put down another try making the score 15-10; their CV would have given them a 7-point lead and really secured the match, but the Aggies miss their CV;
(5) 4:00: After several close calls of Baylor scoring again, the Aggies find themselves driving for another score. At this point, another Aggie score would have effectively ended the game. However, immediately following what appeared to be a clear high tackle by Baylor, A&M was issued a yellow card (for what, I still have not found out). However, despite the yellow card, the Aggie defense was able to hold on for the win.

Final Time: 15-10 – Aggies

Tracking all of the RRRC games throughout the season, in order to get a good idea of what the table standings would look like, is rather difficult. This is due to most teams not posting their wins and loses (or scores) where they can be seen. It is a real shame, as “growing the game” means building a fan-base, and if fans can’t follow the teams, you are not going to grow the game.

In any event, the following table is taken from GoffRugbyReport.com (posted 12/7/2021). Alex Goff states that it is an “unofficial” table, but it does seem to correlate with the notes and information I have found, and is thus about as accurate as one can get.

(Note, at the same GoffRugbyReport.com link, Alex Goff provides are more comprehensive breakdown of what transpired in the December 4, 2021 Texas A&M vs. Baylor match.)

RRRC Table Standings
At end of Fall 2021

RRRC TeamsWLTPFPAPDBTBLPTS
(1) Texas A&M400179361433019
(2) Baylor31014686603116
(3) t.u.220115129-143011
(4) Oklahoma13084128-44105
(5) UNT04054199-145101

Now, the second part of the season is about to commence (the Spring 2022 schedule). Here is a list of the upcoming games for Texas A&M (and a few others that I have found schedules for).

Texas A&M
Spring 2022

(Sat.) February 5, 2022 vs. Oklahoma (at Penberthy, College Station, Texas) at 1 p.m.
(Sat.) February 12, 2022 vs. LSU (at AVEVA Stadium in Houston; MLR Sabercats Stadium)
(Sat.) February 19, 2022 vs. UNT (at Penberthy, College Station, Texas) at 1 p.m.
(Sat.) February 26, 2022 at Baylor (at Waco, Texas) at 1 p.m. (1311 S. 5th Street)
March 5, 2022 at University of Arizona (at Tucson, AZ).
(Sat.) March 26, 2022 at t.u. (at Austin, Texas) at UT Austin Intramural Fields, Guadalupe St

UNT
Spring 2022

February 5, 2022 vs. Baylor (at UNT)
February 12, 2022 at t.u. (at Austin, Texas)
February 19, 2022 at Texas A&M (at Penberthy, College Station, Texas)
March 5, 2022 vs. Oklahoma (at UNT)
April 2, 2022 – RRRC 7s
April 23, 2022 – RRRC 7s
April 30, 2022 – RRRC 7s Finals

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