Fifteen degrees, windy and cold: that’s no condition for rugby practice but every week since January 16, approximately 30 students have found a way to do just that: practice.
In the warm refuge of Shad Gym, the HBS rugby team has met three times a week, each session lasting an hour and a half, to achieve a single goal: win the London Business School Tournament during President’s Day Weekend.
These sessions have been anything but easy. Led by Stephane “Taskmaster” Heuze (OB) and Flint “The Body” Macgregor (OE), the workouts have been a combination of grueling conditioning work and continual skills development. While classmates are reading cases in preparation to make it to Daedaleus on Tuesday nights, these ruggers are running intervals on the track, doing push-ups, sit-ups and star jumps. Thursdays bring more of the same and include skills drills that match fitness with skills such as “rucking out, ripping the ball and keeping the line.”
This desire to win stems from last year’s accomplishment, a thorough dismantling of Old Europe by a combined score of 109-0. However, defeating Smurfit, INSEAD and London Business School will not be easy. With only four starters returning, Harvard must find a way to replace all the graduated talent. However, if the fall season is any indication, HBS should continue to be a force to reckon with.
It begins with team captains Macgregor and Heuze, but again will require a strong front line and the speedy backfield that has performed so well in the fall. Owen “Hoss” Stockdale (OI), Al “Popeye” Rowe (ND), and Scott “Steeler” Pasquini (OF) look to put on strong performances and make crushing tackles in London as they have all fall. In the backfield, the offense will look to the sure hands of @sushi “Ninja” Oshiba (NF) and Mark “Fosters” De Ambrosis (NF) to make decisions out of scrums and line outs. Out wider the wheels of Liam “Fast Track” Patrick (NC) and Brendon “Boyband” Whitworth (NJ) will apply heavy pressure to the defense with their speed and ability to make players miss.
With the disappointment of not winning the Wharton Tournament weighing on everyone’s mind, the ruggers will expect nothing less than a return to glory when they come home from the weekend as London Champs.