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The US Naval Academy men won their annual clash with Army Saturday, defeating the Black Knights 43-22 at the Jon Prusmack Rugby Center in Annapolis.
Navy was just a little bit more polished, and ran out to a commanding 24-0 lead before Army was able to get on the scoreboard.
"The pace of the game was in our favor," said Navy Head Coach Mike Flanagan. "Army hasn't been on the field much and I think that showed, but they are a very good team and we're very, very happy to see Army back on the field again."
Scrumhalf Ricky Neel-Feller opened the scoring for Navy, and then center Ian Sugg scored on a breakaway. Jack McAuliffe converted to make it 12-0. Wing Justin Menke added a try to make it 17-0 and then the other wing, Alex Johnson, made it 22-0.
Army battled back and after flyhalf Blake Hunnewell kicked a penalty, fullback TJ Rowe scored a nice try on a kick ahead to make it 22-10. Navy flanker Beau Bartlett's try put the Midshipmen back three scores ahead, but Army wouldn't go away and tries from scrumhalf Aaron Bush and in-form lock Jeff Ferebee made it 31-22.
"It was a really tough game," said Flanagan. "They have some good young athletes and we have some experience. We needed it."
With the game possibly at a turning point, hooker Joe DiPietro intercepted a pass and looked like a wing as he raced for paydirt. Jack McAuliffe's try finished it off.
That put the game away 43-22, but it was a meaningful game for Army, who have already played some games this spring, but can officially say they are back with this competitive performance.
Tries: Sugg, Neel-Feller, Bartlett, Menke, Johnson, McAuliffe, DiPietro
Convs: McAuliffe 4
Tries: Rowe, Bush, Ferebee
Convs: Hunnewell 2