BOSTON – In their final match of the regular season, the HBS Rugby Club took to a soggy, flooded field Saturday and promptly drowned the playoff hopes of local rivals MIT with a stunning shut-out victory, earning Harvard a spot in the league’s “Final Four” tournament.
HBS drew blood early in the first half, when Brendan “Hansel: Model/Actor Award Winner” Whitworth (NJ) thrilled his teenage fan base by blowing past the entire MIT side with a powerful 60 yard run to open the scoring. Liam “The Freight Train” Patrick’s (NC) text-book kick converted the try to give Harvard an early 7-0 lead.
MIT came back with strong offensive play for much of the first half, though the HBS pack responded with several inspired try-line stands to keep them off the scoreboard.
Injuries plagued the Harvard side as they have all season. David “Family Man” Fielding (ND) made a welcome return from the disabled list after suffering a concussion early in the season. Unfortunately his return was rewarded with a broken nose (arguably a cosmetic improvement) early in the match, and reluctantly left for the hospital.
Co-captain “Fearless” Flint Macgregor (OE) was also sidelined partway through the first half with a deep gash over his right eye. He still managed to contribute however, barking incomprehensible orders and encouragement from the sidelines while nursing his ever- bleeding face. (Language experts from Harvard College are still attempting to determine whether Macgregor’s utterances were an obscure dialect of Afrikaans or, more excitingly, some hitherto undiscovered African tongue).
Mark “Tinsel T” De Ambrosis (NF) suffered a crippling ankle sprain, and eventually had to leave the game. Stephane “The Wizard of” Heuze (OB) suffered further damage to his already broken finger, but managed to apply enough tape to hide the bleeding and play on.
The second half saw HBS dominate an increasingly demoralized MIT side. Jeff “I wish I was a Back” Todd (Harvard Law) broke down positional stereotypes by joining the back line on several drives, even demonstrating an elegant chip-kick before joining the next scrum. Liam “The Freight Train” Patrick (NC)-who was personally responsible for 9 of the 14 Harvard points-took advantage of the momentum and performed a dazzling end-run around the MIT defense, somehow remaining inbounds while fending off several opponents. He converted his own try and increased the HBS lead to 14-0, the final score.
Strong contributions were also made by Mike “Ever-Ready” Fyall (ND), who stood in several times for injured players before settling into his position on the wing and providing clutch defense and an impressive offensive drive. Recent import Atsushi “Huge in Japan” Oshiba (NF) turned in the performance of his fledgling HBS career with stellar all-around play, inciting protectionist sentiments on the MIT campus unseen since the 1970’s.
After losing the first two matches of the season, Harvard has been undefeated in the past 4 contests. The win on Saturday clinches-for the first time in recent memory-a playoff berth in the New England Rugby Football Union’s “Final Four” tournament on November 4th & 5th. The squad is improving week after week, and regardless of how they place in the finals, the successful fall season positions them as the team to beat in their Spring MBA tournaments.
The Harvard Business School RFC wishes to thank team sponsors Anglo Irish Bank, APAX Partners, Tommy Doyle’s, Sierra Nevada, Magners Original Irish Cider, and Lehman Brothers for their generosity and continued support.