News

Getting to know your HBS: the Rugby Club

Rugby at HBS
HBS rugby began in the fall of 1963. Prior to the team’s founding, the school’s sporting culture was dominated by softball, bowling, and ping-pong. Dissatisfied with these options, two Scottish MBA students, Jim Johnstone (MBA 1966) and Morris McInnes (MBA 1965), founded the HBS Rugby Club. Through advertisements, coercion and the promise of female spectators, the first contingent of forty or so interested men began to train at Soldiers Field. A glorious tradition was born, and since then over 1,000 students have played for the school, including notable alumni such as Sir Ronald Cohen (founder of Apax Partners) and Theodore Roosevelt IV (great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt).

Today, the rugby club draws from all the graduate schools at Harvard, with significant numbers of players coming from both the Law School and Kennedy School of Government. The team competes in a local league and takes several tours throughout the year (last year’s tours included Montreal, London, Brazil and the annual MBA World Rugby Championship held at Duke).

How is it played?
So what is rugby? Rugby is a lot like American Football, except there are no pads and no helmets. Two other key differences are 1) the ball can only be passed backwards, and 2) there are no breaks between downs. Points are awarded for tries (like touchdowns except you actually need to touch the ball down) and field goals. At the end of the game, the team with the most points wins.

The positions in rugby are roughly split between forwards and backs. Traditionally, the forwards are large powerful players who spend much of their time tackling and generally rolling around on the ground trying to maintain possession of the ball, while the backs are generally a little smaller and more nimble, and do the running around the outside of the field, or ‘pitch’.

Rugby is a very simple game that is a ton of fun, allows for all shapes and sizes, and engenders a great sense of camaraderie amongst the players.

Who can play rugby and what are the benefits?
Anyone can play rugby. The men field two teams each weekend, and there is also a women’s touch rugby team. The club aims to make sure that all players who attend training and show a desire to play get a chance to do so.

The benefits include getting a great workout, meeting people outside your section (including ECs and students from other schools), and being part of one of the most tightly-knit communities in the business school.

How do I get involved?
The men practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays on the practice fields near Soldier’s Field. We have an eight game NERFU schedule starting the first week back, and will have an opening season party at Tommy Doyle’s very soon. Please contact club co-presidents Anthony Bangay or Jimmy Joun with any questions. We look forward to seeing you on the pitch!

As always, the HBS Rugby Football Club would like to thank our sponsors, Harpoon Brewery, Tommy Doyle’s Irish Pub, and the Boston Consulting Group.

September 8, 2009

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