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Lexington Digs Deep for DIII Title Run

Friday May 15, 2009 in Grassroots Rugby Division III Clubs

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May 15, 2009 – The Lexington Blackstones of Lexington, Ky. are so named because of the area’s coal mining heritage, and so it’s most appropriate to say they are at the coalface this weekend, playing for a DIII national championship this weekend.

Since their move to DIII, the Blackstones have been a consistent playoff performer, but reach the national playoffs for the first time.

“Around the same time that we moved to DIII, we linked up with [Englishman] Tony Vince, who has been really helpful and brings consistency as coach,” said captain Vince Gross. “The biggest thing that Vince brings is discipline: we don’t commit many penalties. We’re thinking more – much smarter. But the biggest thing that has contributed to our success is the maturation of the younger players and the dedication from the entire team.”

The team likes to run.

“We want to use our speed on the outside,” said Gross. “Years ago, we used to have a static game plan – smash twice up the middle then spin it wide. But now we’re learning when need to kick and chase, spin it wide, control and pound it up.”

Lexington faces Hilton Head in their first game in the national playoffs.

“Hilton Head like to run too,” said Gross. “We’ll probably see a mirror image of ourselves. What we’re concerned about is the fact that they have to travel less to SC and are probably used to the heat and humidity. We’re hoping for a cool, windy day. It’s going to be a tough challenge.”

For the record, it’s going to be hot, but it’s hot at the coalface, too.

- Jackie Finlan and Alex Goff © www.rugbynews.com

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