On Friday afternoon an assortment of Wild Rovers, Warriors without Necks, Polar, Brown, Black, Panda and Kuala Bears, Zulu Warriors and Chiefs, former Chicago department store clerks, Sassie Lassies, Upstanding Jockeys, a Copper, Father Abraham’s Seven Sons and two of his Daughters climbed aboard vans and began the long drive to a quaint fishing village on the Delaware. The HBS Men’s and Women’s Rugby Teams were heading to the Annual Wharton MBA Rugby tournament. Our mission was not only to defeat the enemy, but to destroy them. And that we did.
Arriving late that evening at a cheerful and inexpensive inn-house, which was in perfect harmony with the serene surroundings of our scenic village, the weary travelers retired to the bar for a large number of cleansing ales in preparation for the offensives we were to launch the next morning.
Rising less refreshed than intended, the orders for the first attack were issued, equipment checked and the first assault team briefed. Target: Cornell. Mission: Scar their collective consciousness. Timings: two halves of 20 minutes each.
Ranked 3rd in a recent MBA survey–apparently for being less arrogant than 8th ranked HBS–Cornell proved to have no cause for arrogance on the rugby pitch. They never even saw us coming. The slaughter was complete. We dismissed them 39-0 in a demonstration of flamboyance, elegance and controlled violence described by Australian coach Scott Durkin as “Sheer arrogance, mate.”
The opening barrage was conducted by Adrien “Ou est le papier?” de Chaisemartin (FAS), who took a long ball from Terry “Los” Angelos (Sloane) to finish with an overlap on the wing. Brendan “Hummingbird” Rauw (OF) took the second, while Baron “Look where we are, Harvard” Hanson (FAS) punched two tries across the Cornell back line. Kenny Ebbit (OG) scored one of his own with speedy foot work from the wing and converted another two with his “Golden Boots.” John Sheppard (OI and Tour Director) had his scoring debut, with a hard drive through Cornell’s stunned defence. Spence Kympton (OD) crashed a try to compound the insult. The stench of victory was intoxicating.
With a twenty minute rest, some water, a stretch and tactical debrief, assault group two assembled. Target: Wharton 2003 team. Mission: Kill them at home. This one would prove to be trickier than the massacre of minutes before. The enemy had made the world championship finals at Duke in April and would have to be treated differently. They were able to gain some possession of the ball and even appeared in our half. For the first seven minutes. Thereafter they never got to touch the ball or to leave their own back line. Their defense was brave, but ultimately futile.
Kympton finally cracked them in a hard paced burst through their tiring players as the half-time whistle blew. To prove that it had not just been a lucky try, Angelos chipped a penalty over their posts in the second half to leave them thoroughly stunned, demoralized and broken: 8-0 to HBS.
After watching the Women charge through to the finals that afternoon, we chose to take in some of the sites of pleasant Philadelphia. Running up the steps of the Art Museum chanting the tune to Rocky, we perplexed the indigenous observers, before retiring for some ales and white spirits. We found that our hotel rooms had not been broken into, showered and changed for the next great event: the England-South Africa Rugby World Cup match at a BBQ and drink-up in the Wharton club house. Clearly England had been taking notice of HBS tactics and aggression and went on to thrash SA 25-6. In the club house there was much merriment and much singing led by the Songmaster, with HBS the talk of the town.
Members of the Stern team, Columbia team and Wharton A team were commenting on what a hard game we play and hoping that they would not have to face us in the final. Eventually the days’ results were posted on a central board. Well above the other teams like an ominous beacon of doom was listed Harvard Business School with a cumulative 47-0. We had entered all teams’ thought processes: What were they going to do about HBS? From the club house we parted to various charming night spots; from frat parties, to clubs of the highest possible taste, to dance halls of repute and bars which simply served booze. Having dominated on the pitch, we continued the tradition off the pitch.
Sunday morning was again painful, but we had won a bye to the semi-finals, due to our unparalleled success of the previous day. As lesser teams battled it out for the honor to challenge us, none-other than the Wharton 2003 team won the right again. Today was to be different, however. The toll of success had been high, with HBS injuries mounting on an alarming scale. Will “Thrill” Swint (ND) retired with a back injury after two games of tenacious play as hooker. Others limped and ached to a line up which had the heart, but perhaps not the body of Saturday’s team.
The starting whistle opened with an HBS assault as ferocious as the day before. Again and again, we pushed them back and forth in their own half. Power was harnessed from props Charles Macdonald (OD) and DD Mendez (OOD) to crunch any Whartonian brave enough to stick a limb in our rucks. Dan “Elven schmvl, rulmip, Mate” Morris (OF) led with stern calmness under fire, sealing any move by the enemy to “try anything clever”. Sheppard played with extreme strength and passion. But still no points for HBS as half-time approached. Tactics changed to speed in the second half. Saul “Airport” de la Guardia (HLS) came in to provide a steam train for breaching their line, while Oli “Welsh Redeemer” Thomas (NA) exploited the gap like a man possessed, his speed matched only by Koome “Gazelle” Imathiu (NB). As a brace, their pace left Wharton in a cloud of despair. Angelos proved that size is not everything, using his own speed to bust through tackles which would have stopped a man 100lbs heavier. Luke “Skywalker” Herbert (NE) played the communicator, dictating all play from scrum-half. His leadership was the very glue that held our offensive together. But fate dictated a mishap as he and Kenny Ebbit collided to the tune of fourteen stitches in Kenny’s forehead. As the final whistle blew, the Welsh Redeemer kicked a drop goal, inexplicably disallowed. At 0-0 we went onto extra-time, winning with a penalty kick by Angelos in the closing minute. HBS were in the final, by a 3-0 win.
The final reckoning was to be against Wharton A. This was going to be a mountain to climb, with Swint, Ebbit and now Kympton with a hamstring injury, unable to play, despite the valiance of Campbell “Soup” Murray (OJ) as player/medic. The game began with another injury as Macdonald was carried off with a “lower spinal trauma” from an overenthusiastic Wharton player. Although we started on the back foot, HBS gradually began to assert itself. Just before half time, Wharton slipped a try through us to score the only points against HBS up until then. But our counter attack was merciless. The speed and aggression of Thomas, Imathiu, Marty “the fast hooker” and Alejandro “Te mato” Puentes smashed the enemy defences. Ripped apart and out maneuvered, they crumbled to Dan “Rock under Pressure” Shapiro’s (OF) dramatic try. The score stood at 5-5 as we entered extra time. Our assault’s continued for the remaining 10 minutes, but in the last seconds, Wharton kicked a penalty to clinch victory 8-5.
Denied of our rightful cup, HBS heads were heads were held high. With the absence of key players and a high injury toll, our performance to the end was testament to the depth of talent and commitment that has been developed this term. The future looks bright for next terms’ Duke Annual MBA World Championship. HBS is still on the lips of all the teams who witnessed our performance, which was summed up by coach Scott Durkin: “There is only one word to describe your efforts of this weekend. Gallant.”
HBS Starting Line Up:
(1) Saul de La Guardia
) Will Swint
(3) Charle Macdonald
(4) John Shepperd
(5) Dan Morris
(6) Brendan Rauw
(7) Alejandro Puentes
(8) Baron Hanson
(9) Luke Herbert
(10) Terry Angelos
(11) Spence Kympton
(12) Oli Thomas
(13) Adrian de Chaisemartin
(14) Ken Ebbit
(15) Dan Shapiro
Substitutes at half-time: Jamil “Wrath of” Khan (NJ), Dave “Tony” Blair (KSG)