The 3rd-seed Wildcats walked away with a 59-25 against the 6th seed Broncos moving UK to 1-0 in the National Championship playoffs.
Coming into this test the #1 ranked SEC Wildcats have been undefeated all season and just won their first SEC Championship giving them their first D1AA NCAA playoff berth in their history. So far, they seem to be taking advantage of this great opportunity.
Kentucky has not historically been a Rugby powerhouse but this young group of men have looked to turn that assumption around. Guys like Tucker Donlon, Caleb Canter, Isaac Hamlin, Shaq Suber, and more have held the University of Kentucky’s name highly and made us all proud. This team has gone beyond our expectations and they look to only get better from here. Having an undefeated season, an SEC title, & now moving to the Semi-Finals of the D1AA NCAA Championship.
This win was led by 2 players, Second Row star #5 Isaac Hamlin and Winger Elijah Warfield. Isaac Hamlin was named to the Forward 2017 All-Tournament Team Both players ended the contest scoring three separate times with hat tricks of 15 points each. Their Captain Brendon Naude, the kicker, helped having one score himself, two assists, and booting in more than a couple extra points. The offense was great, but the match would not have been won without the defense making the crucial stops that they needed. The Kentucky Forward Pack winning crucial scrums took the life out of the Western Michigan offense giving the Wildcats the room to pull away in the second half.
In UK’s next matchup is Sunday, November 19th @2 p.m. where they will be put up against the #2 ranked Mary Washington Eagles’ in the Semi-Final round. Mary Washington blew away their opponent, Rowan, yesterday ending the test with a score of 43-12. The winner of this game will go on to face the winner of St. Joe’s vs Bowling Green State. UK defeated Bowling Green State early this season 54-5 so that is a match-up that the Wildcats would favor highly. The two-day championship will be held two weeks from now in South Carolina.
If Kentucky hopes to win this tough matchup against the defensive powerhouse Mary Washington they will have to rely heavily on their top players Isaac Hamlin, Shaq Suber, Elijah Warfield, and Brendon Naude. With a hard-fought win yesterday both teams are going to be sore, but Kentucky has the depth to pull this off. It will take a lot of strength to pull this one away from the Eagles, but if the Wildcats play the way they have been all season we’ll be seeing them in South Carolina in two weeks.