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Life at Navy. Evan Lappen Photo.

Life outlasted Lindenwood 22-18 in a thriller down in Marietta, Georgia. The Lions led 18-16 with roughly ten minutes to play but a couple of penalties for the Running Eagles sealed the match.

The game turned out to be a kicking duel between the team’s kickers. Nick Feakes nailed six penalties, accounting for all 18 of Lindenwood’s points.  Duncan Van Schalkwyk tallied five of his own for the home side and added a conversion on the game's only try.

At 6-6, Mitch Wilson found space out wide to create a 13-6 advantage for Life. Lindenwood tallied a penalty to make the game 13-9 at the break.

Feakes added two more kicks to give Lindenwood a second-half lead at 15-13. The teams traded penalties once again and the Lions led 18-16 with 12 minutes to play.

Life showed resiliency, however, as they were able to maintain possession deep in LU territory. Two successful conversions from Van Schalkwyk with less than ten to play gave Life the win.

“It was a tough, physical contest with six lead changes. This made for a really exciting rugby match,” said Life coach Colton Cariaga.

Ultimately, the difference came down to the Life defense. The Lions could not find the try zone, leaving some points on the board.

“They do a great job of clamping down in their own end and making you take 3 instead of 5 or 7. They test you physically and try to force mistakes,” said LU coach Josh Macy. “Credit to Mitch Wilson at the back for bundling up the line breaks. Combine that with Duncan Van Schalkwyk managing the game and territory, you realize just how huge those guys are for them.” 

Despite the loss, Lindenwood is inching closer to a team that they have never beaten in 15s play. Coach Macy indicated that learning from a few of the errors and taking Life as just another game will pay dividends going forward.

“We played the number two team in the country in a thriller and we've never beaten Life, but that's not important. If you strip that away and say we lost a game where we had nearly two-thirds of the possession, had three times the line breaks, and dominated in the scrum, we'd all be pretty upset we lost. The opponent doesn't matter, and when we finish more of these chances or give less of them away we win that game. That's what is important,” Macy said.

Cariaga credited Lindenwood with a gritty performance. "Fair play to them. They were very good. They defended well, disrupted our ball quite a bit. They capitalized on errors we made in our own end,” Cariaga added.

The teams will meet again on March 24 in St. Charles, Mo.

Match Details

Final Score