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HARC lost 26-22 Saturday to the Austin Blacks, but they came away from the game confident they can compete with the best teams in Texas this season.

“Coming off the game last week,” said HARC prop Kenneth Hepburn, “we lost by a very short margin, and I feel like, going forward the rest of the season, we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with a lot more than last year.”

Saturday, they get to play another one of those top teams in the Austin Huns. The Huns started their season on a positive note back in December, beating the former Super League Dallas Harlequins 42-25, and are currently in first place.

“If we can come off a close game like last week going into this week against the Huns, who beat the Quins, and give them a run for their money, looking forward throughout the season, I see no reason why we wouldn’t finish top two or three,” Hepburn said.

What’s different for HARC this year? The additions of All American scrumhalf Chris Saint (Penn State) and All American lock Chris Parker (Texas A&M) have certainly helped. Saint moved to Texas to play with The Woodlands Exiles last summer. They helped land him a job, and he stuck around. Parker, who scored a try in his HARC debut, is a native Texan.

“We got new players and we got a new attitude. Same coaches, some of the same veterans, but our direction is right,” said Hepburn.

“There’s no question as to when we step on that field what our main goal. We’re going to play hard-nosed fast rugby, we’re going to hit you hard, and we’re going to take it and score it. That’s the only thing we’re trying to do. We’re not trying to make highlight reels. Play simple rugby and make it happen.”