As summer turns to fall a wonderful thing happens, no not the crisp cool air or the leaves changing across the Harvard campus, something even better than that. A tradition unlike any other, the HBS Rugby team suits up in their sharp red-and-black uniforms and straps on their cleats as they return to the athletic battlefield to protect the school’s honor. The pride of HBS since 1963, the team is the nation’s oldest graduate rugby program and carries a long history of domination on and off the ‘pitch’ (rugby field).
Prior to the team’s founding, the school’s sporting culture was dominated by badminton, croquet, synchronized swimming, and ping-pong. Dissatisfied with these options, two Scottish MBA students, Jim Johnstone (class of 66) and Morris McInnes (class of 65), founded the HBS Rugby Club. Through black and white advertisements, coercion, and the promise of female spectators, the first contingent of forty interested men began to train at Soldiers Field. A glorious tradition was born.An ivy league favorite, rugby is the roughest, most testosterone charged sport known to mankind. The game combines the speed of track, endurance of soccer, and contact of football with really, really ridiculous good looks. Off the field, Rugby is a very social sport and the team is known as the strongest brotherhood at HBS with over 1,400 alumni including a long line of successful industry titans. The team is sponsored by Boston Consulting, Global Rescue, and Harpoon Brewery among others. When these gentlemen aren’t walking old ladies across the street, protecting your girlfriend from muggers, or otherwise making the world a better place you will find them at the fine establishment known as Tommy Doyle’s, also a team sponsor. Doyle’s is the Mecca of local Rugby culture and there you can often find this ruckus band of brothers drinking up after games and singing their rugby songs into the wee hours of the night.
This year’s roster returns 18 solid ruggers from last year’s championship team. These gladiators of the pitch have been training all summer long in gyms and local bars all over the world and will bring experience to this year’s squad. The team dominated the local New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU) league last season, pounding opponents by an average of 21 points per game. The team then blitzed across Europe in an undefeated tour, stomping opponents in the rugby stronghold of Ireland and out drinking the German teams at Oktoberfest. The team followed that up by a strong finish at the MBA World Cup, dominating rivals such as Yale and Wharton, but plagued by injuries to key players including the human cannonball, Yemi Owolewa, the team dropped a game to the winning team from London Business School. The team bounced back quickly, taking the rugby 7’s championship at Dartmouth two weeks later on the hard running of Aussie heartthrob Matt Rooney.
The team invites you to be part of the storied tradition, holding open practices every Tuesday and Thursday. The club is counting on a strong year of recruiting to build the depth it needs to withstand the long, hard season. The team welcomes graduate students from throughout the Harvard community and no prior playing experience is necessary. The game allows for players of all shapes and sizes and new players can learn quickly from the team’s tan-and-toned all-pro coach, the English legend, David Gonzales. Every game day, the club fields two teams a Men’s “A” and a “B” side. The club is also planning annual tours to the University of Texas, Montreal, Oktoberfest, and the MBA Rugby World Cup at Duke University. HBS also has a women’s touch team that has grown in popularity over recent years. For more info visit: www.hbsrugby.org.
The team is going to play a hard fall schedule and invites the whole HBS community out to support the school’s greatest athletic tradition. Lastly, when you see a bruised rugger walking around campus on Monday eyes sparking behind a black eye or teeth shining behind a cut lip, give them a high five or pat on the back because they are playing for the pride of Harvard Business School.
An ardent disciple and zealous critic of Jack Welch, Tom spent three years working at General Electric in finance and the past summer running around Europe doing business development for Medtronic.ÿ He has moved 27 times and has lived in four different countries. He is a proud member of Section B (Go beauties and beasts!), a 06′ graduate of Virginia Tech with degrees in Entrepreneurship and Finance, and a Certified Public Accountant. Endowed with a ferocious appetite and metabolism, he consumes 5,000-6,000 calories a day but never gains an ounce of weight; he is a particular sucker for fruit smoothies but also recommends the 1.6lb Beckett Burger at McGreevy’s in Boston.