Boston, Massachusetts – HBS 15, Middlesex Barbarians 0. That was the score of the second half as HBS cut down its errors and made some big plays. However, the final score of 27-21 in favor of Middlesex reflected the lead they built during the first half. HBS’ first home game was a comeback story that came up short. According to John “Anger Management” Doran (OB), “We came out and played hard. We just made some mistakes in the first half. We were able to rectify those mistakes in the second half but it wasn’t enough. Our conditioning superiority was obvious. Their big boys were gasping for air the entire second half. Though we didn’t come away with the victory, we made a lot of progress and showed a lot of heart.”
First half blunders
It was an ugly first half for HBS as they gave up 27 points, 20 coming off of costly errors. Middlesex scored three tries and two penalty conversions during the first half. The first six points were results of penalty conversions inside Harvard’s own 22 meter line. The next 14 points were results of an errant pass that was intercepted for a try and a misplayed kick deep into HBS territory. Though the score did not reflect it, HBS outplayed Middlesex in the first half with strong phase play and solid tackling. The strong rucking of Carter “Seal” Gaffney (NB), Allan “Hammer” Rowe (ND), Rafa “Sunshine” Soto (NF) and Stephane “Captain” Heuze (OB) led to excellent field position resulting in two Mark “Oi oi oi” De Ambrosis’ penalty conversions. However, HBS could not push into the try zone and the errors made the score.
Second half wonder
The second half was a completely different story. Defensively, HBS continued to stem the Middlesex attack with strong tackling and a solid kicking game ensuring that the field position was in their favor. The mistakes of the first half disappeared and Middlesex was shutout. Offensively, the inspired play of the inside pack drew increased attention from Middlesex’s backline creating large gaps. The HBS back line took full advantage.
The first try was a nifty run by Liam “Ballhawk” Patrick (NC) up the right side line following a pass from Mark “Boom boom” Wayshak. Created by some hard inside running, it was the first sign of Middlesex fatigue. The second try was by Wayshak who cut back inside after receiving a pass. He ran through a tired, opposing forward line unable to match his speed. The final try by Harvard was set up by Jeff “Mountain Man” Todd (HLS). In a two on one overlap, Todd drew his defender before making a perfect pass to Florent “FloJo” Catu (NI) who finished off the scoring run by crashing through the weak arm tackles of two would-be defenders. At that point, Middlesex acknowledged the conditioning superiority of the HBS ruggers as their sideline yelled shouts of “Slow the game down.” Catu’s score made it 27-21 with less than two minutes left. Middlesex narrowly avoided defeat as time expired.
Continued improvement on the Road to Wharton
The HBS Ruggers continued to work hard during the practices leading up to the game. Much improved from last week was the forward play. Though HBS will be outsized in every NERFU match, the forward pack ably maintained possession on a majority of the scrum downs this week. Several times the pack imposed their will on the bigger opposing forward line driving them back. “Size isn’t everything. We’re in better shape, we’re just as strong, and we play together,” stated Todd. What’s next? HBS returns back to the practice field in preparation for their next NERFU match. The Harvard Business School RFC wishes to thank team sponsor Anglo Irish Bank, APAX Partners, Uno’s, Sierra Nevada, and Magners Original Irish Cider for their generosity and continued support.