Air Force wins fourth consecutive Armed Forces Rugby Tournament

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shane Dunaway
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force rugby team pulled off a decisive 22-5 victory against the Army rugby team in the championship match of the 2007 Armed Forces Rugby Tournament Oct. 27 here.

All five branches of service participated in the two-day tournament. The victory marked the fourth consecutive year of Air Force dominance over the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps.

"We started preparing for this in March with a trial session to get everyone together," said Jay Arbizu, Air Force rugby team head coach. "We've got a good group of young guys that come in every year, a good group of old guys who provide leadership and experience, and a group in the middle who are in the prime of their rugby careers."

The preparation and experience showed early in the first half, when Air Force surged to a 17-0 lead, physically dominating the Army team and keeping them on their own end of the field.

After nearly 25 minutes of struggling against the opposition, the Army team finally caught a break when center Nate Conkey broke away from the Air Force defense to score the Army's only try, or rugby equivalent of a touchdown, making the score 17-5.
The score ignited the Army offensively and the intensity carried over into the second half. The Army bullied their way to within feet of the try zone on two occasions, but could not capitalize.

The Air Force would go on to score one more try to secure the 17-point victory.

"Today, I felt we were an A-plus team as far as rucking, mauling and running the ball," said Mike Stephenson, Army rugby team coach. "The Air Force was better than us today. They have a well-drilled team with a lot of speed and size. They're tough. That's why they've won it four years in a row."

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