After last week’s enjoyable contest versus the HBS Old Boys, HBS Rugby traveled to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to take on Seacoast. The team knew this would be a tough game, having lost four starting players to injuries in the past few weeks. Some players, such as Kevin O’Boyle (NG), moved into starting roles, while others, like Eduardo Queiroz (KSG), moved into new positions for the match. HBS Rugby worked hard all week to ensure that the team’s chemistry would suffer as little as possible against the much tougher competition expected for the weekend.
However, HBS Rugby came out flat and was promptly pinned deep in its own half. Unlike previous opponents, Seacoast rapidly took advantage of Harvard’s lethargy, scoring two quick tries in the first five minutes. Suddenly down 12-0, Harvard regrouped and played inspired rugby for the next twenty minutes. Powered by the ferocious rucking of Randy Goldstein (OD) and guided by the calm direction of Jimmy Joun (ND), HBS kept the ball in the forwards as it marched down the field, stressing the Seacoast defense to the breaking point. Having placed the Seacoast defense on its heels, Joun spun the ball out to Co-Captain Chris Trimble (KSG), who tore through the exhausted defense before passing to Doug Haber (NE), who scored the ball beneath the posts and converted the kick to put HBS on the board at 12-7. The excellent play continued, and 10 minutes later, Trimble took a penalty tap and drove through the confused and retreating Seacoast defense to the corner, tying the game at 12.
Unfortunately, having worked so hard to tie the game, HBS promptly went back to sleep, and allowed a Seacoast attacker to run through the defense and score after two blown tackles. Down 17-12, Harvard steadied itself and held until the last play of the first half, when a technical mistake by a Harvard player (don’t worry, law school, your name is safe with us) gave Seacoast a penalty try, increasing Seacoast’s lead to 24-12. Harvard went into half-time knowing that they had played well except for a few critical mistakes.
Despite an impassioned speech by Trimble at half-time, HBS came out flat again. Seacoast promptly added two more tries. Having dug such a deep hole, HBS tried to recover. However, Seacoast’s defense had improved, and despite a magnificent try scored solo by Mike Lloyd (HLS) near the end of the game, Harvard’s A-side went down to defeat, 36-19. The defeat was dispiriting primarily because HBS played well enough to win, but couldn’t play solid rugby consistently against a tough opponent.
HBS Rugby then played its third B-game of the year, giving several new players their first taste of rugby, an important part of the team’s mission. The new players demonstrated that they had taken their instruction to heart, while the players who came out at the beginning of the season showed off their skills. The B-side put forth a solid defensive effort and frequently played at a higher level than the A-side. Harvard took a quick lead, and only Seacoast’s substituting most of their A-side backs into the game at the half prevented a Harvard victory. The B-side’s outstanding play was highlighted by Matt Sillier (KSG), who had his first practice last Wednesday and played solidly at prop. He was named man of the match for his efforts.
Next weekend, HBS travels to Montreal to renew its annual rivalry with McGill University.
The HBS Rugby Team is always looking for new players. The club practices and plays matches in both semesters and this year has tours to London, Montreal, and the MBA Rugby World Cup at Duke University. If you want to be a member of the most competitive sports team in the Harvard Graduate Community contact the club president Randy Goldstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, the Harvard Business School Rugby Football Club would like to thank our sponsors: The Boston Consulting Group and Tommy Doyle’s Irish Pub.