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Indiana defeated Notre Dame 40-19 in one of the final tune-ups before post-season play begins. Indiana is gearing up for the DIA playoffs in two weeks while Notre Dame will head to Army for the first round of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup on Saturday.
The early part of the game went the way of Indiana. The Hoosiers scored the first 26 points of the game before the Irish scored a try in the 38th minute.
“They slowed down the game and played a tight game so it was good for us to see what was going on and make the adjustments. When we saw that we moved the ball out wide and got some points today,” said Indiana coach Sopa Enari.
Indiana scored the first points of the second half before Notre Dame went on a bit of a run. The Irish scored two second half tries and were deep in Indiana territory. At 33-19, Notre Dame looked to be closing in on a score to make it a one-possession game, but the Hoosiers turned the ball over and went the other way for a try and a 40-19 victory.
“We had a much better second half. We felt good in the second half, especially the way our forwards were controlling it,” Notre Dame coach Justin Hickey told Rugby Today. “We were very physical, played phases very well but their backline can score from anywhere and they did.”
Both teams will use this game as a benchmark for the postseason. Indiana will get an extra week of preparation as they have a bye in the first round of the DIA playoffs. For Notre Dame, it is crunch time, as the Irish head to West Point for the first round of the Varsity Cup.
“I think we are coming along and with two weeks left we will be there. We have seen what we need to work on and we will go back to practice and work on those things. We will need to work on executing some things but today’s game for preparation purposes was very valuable,” Enari concluded.
“It gets old saying you are happy with the result in a loss but this one I think we made some strides in. More games against teams like Indiana will make us better going forward,” Hickey concluded.