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The ACRL featured a pair of blowouts this weekend, with Clemson dispatching North Carolina State 58-14 and Virginia Tech beating Wake Forest 91-0. Both teams remain undefeated and will square off in two weeks time.
For Virginia Tech, it was a solid result after nearly a month without playing a game. The Hokies controlled the game throughout and coach Paul Caron was very impressed with his team’s performance.
“Whenever you play rugby it is beneficial to have a few weeks off. However we had come to the point where after not having played for a month we were a bit worried if were going to be able to put it together,” said Caron. “We were actually pretty happy. The boys took to the system we were trying to put in place.”
The Hokies midfield combination spearheads the team. Scrumhalf Carter Neal and flyhalf Michael O’Brien both lead with their play.
“He has done a really good job of connecting the platform setters with the forwards and the creative backs that we have,” Caron said of Neal. “(O’Brien) has been a really vocal leader for the team and people really follow him based on the way he plays.”
With a number of cancellations, Virginia Tech was struggling to find dates for postponed matches. Originally, the ACRL considered doubling up on weekends but the conference was able to secure matches on the next three consecutive weekends for the Hokies. Virginia Tech will play UVA, Clemson and Maryland to close out conference play this fall.
Clemson continued its dominating play in the ACRL with a 58-14 victory over North Carolina State. The Tigers were playing without several starting back row players but the depth of their team kept them firing on all cylinders.
“We were a littler nervous at the beginning because we had a couple of key players out,” said Clemson captain Ryan Gilroy. “We had a lot of guys play out of position. So we were a little nervous with how the game was going to go having so many guys out of position but it went well and I think we executed well.”
With the changes, the normal starting hooker Dan Collins had to step in play ten the last few weekends. “He played especially well, especially playing out of position,” Gilroy added.
Clemson and Virginia Tech will meet in two weeks, in what should determine the conference championship.
“They have been looking well. We are looking forward to Virginia Tech. I think that is going to be a real finisher of the ACRL. We are excited for that game,” added Gilroy.
Caron added similar sentiments and is hoping his team is up to the challenge of playing a tough Clemson side.
“Clemson has definitely been the stand out. They have been putting teams away pretty easily with almost two sides playing different teams. We have been able to stay close with them the last few years and hope to do the same and compete with them.”