When Dartmouth and Army meet, it’s always a game worth paying attention to. No, it’s not a Rugby East matchup, and it has no league, playoff or competitive implications. But, when Dartmouth and Army meet in West Point on Friday night, there will be plenty to play for.
“It’s always fun to go down there, a beautiful campus, and certainly a great rivalry,” said Dartmouth coach Alex Magleby.
“I think it’s a football weekend for them, so it always brings up a lot of energy to that campus, which is always great. Games like this, New England fall rugby, have been played for over 60 years probably, and the Army/Dartmouth one has been happening for what, 40 of those, so it’s pretty fun.”
Army doesn’t have to worry about wins and losses until the spring, when the College Premier Division kicks off in the spring. (We’re assuming they’ll be back in the CPD, but no official word has come down from West Point on that topic just yet. Oh, and the CPD is rumored to be rebranding to Division 1-A).
Dartmouth, however, starts their regular season in earnest next week, so the Big Green are looking to play the closest thing to their top side.
“We’ll put the team that we think is the best team out for sure,” said Magleby. “Obviously, it’s a big rivalry, but there’s two different mindsets there. We start our regular season in a week, and West Point doesn’t start their regular season for six months or whatever, so it’s not necessarily an apples to apples comparison.”
After graduating 20 seniors and numerous front row contributors, Dartmouth has some holes to fill. The Big Green have played a couple of friendlies against Canadian schools and a tournament against local competition, but there are still plenty of ongoing battles for starting spots.
“It’s a tough call. We know today kind of who is in that top 10, top 15. I think there’s a few guys we’ll leave at home who would be competing for certainly reserve spots, and with the Ivy’s seven games in five weeks, a lot of that will change inevitably. But I think we’re pretty excited about the team so far that will go out on Friday night,” said Magleby.
“I think one through 15 there’s an opportunity for guys to work their way into (the starting side). We graduated a lot in the front row, so certainly there’s good competition there. Everyone’s not quite sure who’s the better of the bunch at the moment, which is probably a good thing, so those guys will still have an opportunity.”