The East region of the D1A playoffs is down to two all too familiar rivals in Life and Lindenwood. The Mid-South programs have become quite close over the last decade and there has been no shortage of drama.
The two programs have a lot in common besides being next to each other in alphabet. Both programs emerged as varsity contenders making rugby one of their main sports on campus in the latter end of the last decade. Finally, the two schools are well known for battling it out to recruit some of the best high school talent around the country.
“Over the years, there have been some really good contests between the two programs. There have also been some really heated contests! It’s all good stuff because those games challenge our preparation and approach. And that’s always true regardless of the last result,” said Life coach Colton Cariaga.
With The squads meeting two and sometimes three times a season, they have become quite familiar with each other. Life and Lindenwood have a competitive past dating back to the Days of Dan Payne and JD Stephenson representing the former and the latter respectively.
“It’s been a heated rivalry since long before I have been at Lindenwood, and playing them is the most exciting part of playing college rugby. There is a lot of mutual respect between us and Life,” said senior prop Alec McDonnell.
Even with the changes over recent years, the two teams have become very much like a big brother little brother relationship. Life came into prominence first followed shortly after but the Missouri school. Life has a lot more success in 15s winning four D1A titles to Lindenwood’s Zero. Worse, however for the Lions is the frustrating fact that they have never knocked off their conference foe in the history of rivalry. Adding insult to injury, Lindenwood has been right on the verge several times, only to fall just short. Three out of the last four seasons the Running Eagles have bounced the Lions from the playoffs all in fairly close fashion.
Could this be the year history is made? With a talented team of experienced players, Lindenwood thinks so.
“On the field there is no love between Lindenwood and Life. This game has turned into a battle of the two best teams in college rugby and we fully plan on taking that home,” said Lindenwood wing Sam Chapman.
Tune into CBS Sports and FloRugby to see the game live on Saturday 4/27 at 5:30pm EDT