The HBS Rugby Club completed their formal match schedule for the fall in high style this past Saturday. In a season of fine performances, the homecoming weekend victory over from New London County was certainly one of the finest.
Harvard’s capable play outclassed the boys from New London in every phase of the game. With strong rucks and mauls from the forwards, and perfectly executed passes among the backs, New London had little hope of touching the pill while play was underway. The set pieces were similarly one-sided, the ball floating directly from the fingers of Josh “Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato” Bresler (OE) into the waiting arms of Jason “Lurch” Glass (OI) on lineouts, and a heavily-outweighed HBS pack owned the scrums all afternoon.
HBS struck early and often with a characteristic team effort. Captain Carl “Lavos” Lavin (OE) returned from a leg injury in dramatic fashion as he took the field against the advice of the team physician and quickly scored Harvard’s opening try. Flint “Fourplay” MacGregor (NE) followed up with an astounding four tries of his own. Perhaps most dramatically, rookie Andy “Hellfire” Wattula (OI) evaded multiple tackles, planted his palm firmly into the face of several opponents, and ran the entire length of the pitch on his way to touching the ball down between the uprights.
Despite the overall domination, the game had its tense moments. Thoma “Le Papier” Lefebvre (OF), in the process of single-handedly taking three members of the opposing team to ground, sustained a head injury and was forced to leave the game. A nervous titter went through the crowd, as they sought answers to two critical questions: First, was Thoma okay? Thankfully, yes. Second, with the team’s other Francophiles sidelined, could Harvard prevail without a single Frenchman on the pitch? Such a feat had not been attempted all season. Thankfully, the answer again was in the affirmative.
As always, Harvard displayed their depth and flexibility as new players came onto the field and other rotated to new positions. The team added some heft to the backs as Saul “Dainty” de la Guardia (HLS) and Jeff “Sweeney” Todd (HLS) moved from the front row to the back line and showed off their sprinting skills.
Ever the gentlemen, our heroes shocked the assembled crowd of adoring fans and dedicated HBS rugby alums with an uncharacteristic display of compassion by allowing two tries for the boys from Connecticut. But, unfortunately for their demoralized opponents, Harvard quickly resumed their tough style of play. New London’s fate was sealed as the forwards, led by Kevin “Pater Familias” Releford (OB), Mal “Meatloaf” Thompson (OF) and Billy “Boomhauer” Soares (HMS) tackled mercilessly to regain the ball and the backs, following the example of Thomas “Hotpants” Connelly (OD), repeatedly charged through the opposing line with ferocity. Chris “Voodoo” Staudt (OC), Sunru “Am I bleeding?” Yong (NC), Rich “Bam-Bam” Bennion (OE), and John “Anger Management” Doran (NB) all shone in their inaugural 1st-XV performance. On top of 6 tries, Harvard gained an additional 11 points from the magical boot of Carl “Lavin” Lavos (OE) to win, 41 to 12.
Confident but hardly content, the RFC is already itching to continue their campaign for the MBA World Championship. Following several weeks of hard-earned rest, HBS rugby will carry the momentum from a fantastic fall season into several months of hard training for the big dance at Duke in April.