Saint Mary's Defense Shuts Down Navy In Annapolis

Ronan Murphy: The Big Body On Saint Mary's

Saint Mary's put in an impressive defensive effort to defeat the US Naval Academy 20-7 Saturday in Annapolis.

The Gaels had their own issues offensively, able to only score one try in each half, far less than the almost 13 the team averages per game. This was the first time all season Saint Mary's was held to less than five tries.

Watch The D1A Bracket Reveal Show LIVE March 31 1pm CT

It was a cold, windy day and the forwards battled through. Saint Mary's prop Payton Telea Ilalio was a force in getting his team go-forward ball.

"We wanted to play expansive rugby, and we did, but we needed to take it up with the forwards a lot to draw in their defense first," said Saint Mary's captain Vili Helu. "We won the coin toss and decided to go against the wind in the first half so we'd have it at our backs in the second. But it put us in a tough spot in the first 20 minutes. Navy has some big units on that team, and they did a good job pinning us in our end for a while."

Saint Mary's defended well, though, but their desire to run was hampered by slow conditions.

"They are some hard-charging midshipmen," said Helu. "They had about 1,000 fans there, and some banter coming from them. It was a crazy atmosphere, but he played some great defense."


Scrumhalf Sean Yacoubian opened up the scoring with a penalty goal, and the Gaels stretched their lead with a try from Antoine De La Fontaine. Yacoubian converted to make it 10-0, and added a penalty late in the first half for a 13-0 lead at the break.

Replacement Francois Pieterse scored the second Saint Mary's try, and Yacoubian converted In the second half. Navy continued to exert pressure and put Gordon Livermore over. Scrumhalf Cole Euverard converted.

But 20-7 was as close as Navy would get. Along with Telea Ilalio, Saint Mary's got a big performance from Ronan Murphy in the forwards. It was a contentious game, and had its chippy moments for sure. The Navy fans made sure it felt like a travel game for the Gaels, and they succeeded.

"It was a very tough game, in a hostile environment, but we want these types of games and we'd love to play Navy every year," said Saint Mary's head coach Tim O'Brien.


Saint Mary's also won the B-side game 29-3. Scrumhalf Aiden Howe was able to play in front of friends and family as he's from nearby, and he had a blinder, leading the way for the Gaels.

Q&A With AJ MacGinty: Eagles, MLR, Life, And More

De-AJ-a Vu: MacGinty Does It Twice

It's been a somewhat roundabout path for Eagles playmaker AJ MacGinty and his ascension into one of the northern hemisphere's best flyhalves. 

New Zealand Wins Super Series, France Makes A Statement

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

After two-and-a-half week tournament that had everything—upsets, blowouts, nailbiters, big hits, fine skills—it's the Black Ferns who ultimately come out on top after defeating England 28-13 in the Super Series finale; meanwhile, France closed out its campaign with a demolition of the Eagles, laying down a 53-14 win over the Americans. 

NOLA, ARPTC Rise To The Occasion At Hell Or High Water 7s

New Orleans and ARPTC took the honors at a key sevens qualifier in the Red River region over the weekend.

England Teams Get Great Britain Rugby Into Olympics

The men's and women's teams from Great Britain are the latest to confirm their places in the rugby competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after both England teams won the Rugby Europe regional qualifiers in France and Russia, respectively, Sunday.

France Ready To Face USA Sunday

null

France and the USA are set to face off Sunday in the final day of the 2019 Women's Super Series.

Q&A With USA Rugby's Mark Griffin

Mark Griffin Talks EY And USA Rugby

FloRugby caught up with USA Rugby Chief Commercial Officer Mark Griffin to talk about the new USA Rugby partnership with EY in the wake of the two organizations’ announcement about the deal.

England, New Zealand Name Lineups For Super Series Decide

Kendra Cocksedge Drives The Black Ferns Train

New Zealand and England have named their lineups for the Women's Super Series clincher Sunday in San Diego, CA.

USA Prepares For Super Series Finale

Stacey Bridges: Offload Master

USA Women's National Team head coach Rob Cain has named his lineup to take on World #4 France in the final weekend of the Women's Super Series.

USA Rugby, EY Finalize Research And Strategic Partnership

(USA Rugby Release) LAFAYETTE, CO – In April, USA Rugby and EY announced a new partnership where the global leader in advisory services would become principal partner to the National Governing Body (NGB). As part of the partnership, EY will provide consulting services to USA Rugby during this transformational period with the goal of developing an organizational strategic plan. A primary focus of the partnership will be the overall digital strategy within USA Rugby, with the goal of growing participation and rugby fan base through a digitally enabled method. In turn, leveraging increased business opportunities for the organization.

Perennial Powers Chase Newcomers In Midwest

The Midwest qualification process is different than the rest of the country, and that changes attitudes and strategies heading into the third qualifier.