Last Saturday, the HBS rugby team made the short journey over the river to MIT to play Rutland in a season opener. The team (made up of students from HBS, the Law School, and the Kennedy School of Government) had only trained together three times, so no-one was quite sure what would happen on the field, especially given the fact that there were a number of players on the squad who had no previous experience playing rugby. To make matters worse, the conditions were far from ideal – the humidity was intense and rain seemed likely.
Harvard started strongly, dominating possession in the first twenty minutes, but struggled to penetrate the Rutland defense. The forwards did a tremendous job of retaining the ball and preventing Rutland from getting any sort of useful possession, but it took a powerful run from backs captain Chris Trimble (KSG) to break the deadlock after fifteen minutes. Breaking through one tackle, he ran twenty yards before stiff-arming the last defender and crashing down over the line for Harvard’s first try of the season.
Harvard continued to pile on the pressure, retaining possession for long periods and driving the ball well up the field. This hard work was rewarded with a try from Jamie Ianelli (HLS) who found himself at the end of an overlap and raced in almost unopposed.
After Joe Harrington (HLS) touched down after some excellent support work, the match was beginning to look a little one-sided. However, in the second half the conditions deteriorated and the rain that had been forecast finally arrived, making it more difficult to play flowing rugby. Despite this, former captain Liam Patrick (OOC) scored an early try, scything through the Rutland defense to touch down between the posts.
Rutland were determined not to let the game turn into a rout and began to edge their way back into it. Yet the Harvard defense remained extremely solid, with flanker Brian Perkins (NA) making a number of big hits. Rutland continued to press deep in the Harvard half for the last ten minutes of the game, but the Harvard defense stood firm and when the final whistle went, the score was 24-0.
Next match is this Saturday vs. North Shore at home.all-out support would be welcomed for this local derby!
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, Arizona, 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.