The Navy men’s rugby team claimed a historic 33-28 victory over No. 4 California on Saturday, marking the first time the Mids have defeated the national powerhouse. Navy, now ranked as the top team in the nation with a 13-0 record, took control of the game in the second half after scoring the first three tries. Despite a late surge by Cal, Navy held on for the win.
Director of rugby Gavin Hickie expressed his excitement over the victory, saying, “For all our alumni, this is a monumental and historic victory for Navy Rugby. This win was 60 years in the making from our perspective. Cal has been a varsity sport for a long time and has set the benchmark.”
Matthew Thibodaux led the way for Navy with three of the team’s five tries. “We challenge ourselves every week on how good we can be and our senior leadership is showing just how good this team is,” Hickie continued. “Today is a special day for Navy rugby and all our alumni who have waited 60 years for this moment. This win was for them.”
Navy trailed by two points at halftime but rallied in the second half to establish a three-score lead. Cal fought back with two tries of their own, but Navy’s defense held strong in the match’s final minutes.
The Mids will take on Rugby East-rival Penn State at Segra Field in Leesburg, VA on Saturday, March 18 at 4:30 p.m.