HBS Rugby Wins London Tournament

HBS Rugby flew to London determined to continue an undefeated year by winning its first tournament against international competition. It succeeded in grand style, with both the HBS A and B teams bringing home trophies. HBS A won all four of its games, outscoring the opposition by a combined 145 to 0 to claim the tournament championship. HBS B went an impressive 3-1, greatly improving its skills and taking home third place.

For HBS A, the first day kicked off with HBS playing a tough London Business School A-side. Having not played against live opposition since finishing its fall season in November, the HBS A-side spent most of the first game knocking the rust off. London fought hard, determined to defend their home field. Tackling and rucking ferociously, London tried to penetrate Harvard’s stout defense, anchored by the aggressive play of Chris “Bicycle” Trimble (KSG) and Randy “Pino Grigio” Goldstein (ND). HBS used its defense to wear down London, and exploited opportunities to launch counterattacks to gain field position and scoring opportunities. The first half ended 0-0, but midway through the second half, one of these counterattacks penetrated the LBS defense, and Mark “Whitworth” Wayshak raced to the corner of the try zone to score Harvard’s first points. HBS then found its rhythm and began to dominate the battle for field position, consistently attacking the London end. Although HBS did consistently attacking the London end. Although HBS did not score again before time was called, it bode well for the rest of the tournament, and HBS came away with a 5-0 victory.

The B-side tasted their first action of the New Year against the spirited team from INSEAD. It took a few minutes to get back into the flow of the game, but the team showed strong defense holding their opponents off the board and coming away with the win off a penalty kick by Jon “Asian Persuasion” Wyler (OC) in the game’s final minutes. Wyler would go an impressive 4 for 5 on kicks for the tournament.

During the second game, HBS A took on an overmatched INSEAD A-side. Warmed up and ready from its first match, HBS grabbed the initiative and never let go. Working off yet another HBS counterattack, team Captain Liam “Teddy Bear” Patrick (OC) plunged into the try zone only 2 minutes into the match. The rout was on. Over the next forty minutes, HBS scored nine more tries, including tries by Patrick (3 total), Brendan “Frosted Tips” Whitworth (OJ), Brian “Stella!” Geary (OA), Joel “Freight Train” Hartel (NB), and Sean “Bait” Eldridge (NE). HBS kept changing its style of play, at one point moving Prop Forwards Craig “Switch” Canton (OJ) and Jeff “Mountain Man” Todd (HLS) out to the wing, where, with the help of Atsushi “Bear” Oshiba (OF) and Patrick, they penetrated the INSEAD defense, and rumbled 40 meters down the field, where Canton charged into the try zone for a score. Goldstein caused further chaos by flattening the INSEAD scrum half with a vicious hit that sent both the INSEAD player and the ball flying, underlining Harvard’s swarming defense. HBS used the game to further develop its rhythm and cohesiveness, fine-tune its defense, and improve its offense. Patrick converted 7 of his 10 kick-at-goal attempts, as HBS slammed INSEAD, 64-0.
Meanwhile, Harvard’s B-side beat the LBS B-side in an impressive display of rugby fundamentals. The Harvard team dominated play in the forwards with powerful rucking from Ben “Jolly Green Giant” Reno-Weber (NC), punishing tackles from Brian “No Man Left Behind” Clymer (NH) and Kevin “CEO” Sousa (OH) and some authoritative runs by Jon “Tiny Tuna” Oka (OJ). It was one such run by Oka that led to the first score of the game as he charged through several LBS defenders to get within a few inches of the try line, allowing Seth “31 Flavors” Ross (NB), following close in support, to touch the ball down for the try. Once again, strong defense in the backs, particularly from Mike “Last Game” Fyall (OD), who played in his first games this weekend after missing the first part of the season recovering from shoulder surgery, and Tim “Irish Thunder” O’Rourke (OD) kept the opponents off the board. In the second half, Wayshak would add another try from the number 8 position off of some smooth play in the backs to make the final score 12-0.

For its final game of the first day, the HBS A-side took on the LBS B-side. Although LBS had little hope of winning, they fought hard, rucking with determination and never conceding defeat. Despite this tenacity, HBS was firing on all cylinders and completely overwhelmed the opposition with superior offense and defense. Tries were scored by Patrick (2), Whitworth, Wayshak, Eldridge, and Geary, while Patrick successfully converted all 7 of his kicks-at-goal as HBS rolled over LBS B, 49-0.

For the B-side, the first day of the tournament ended with a fiercely contested match against the LBS A-side that was far closer than the lopsided score would suggest. This set up the next day’s third-place match between the Harvard B’s and INSEAD.

The day of the championship dawned clear and cold. Both HBS teams made their way to Regent’s Park in the heart of London, where the HBS B-side led off against INSEAD. The game started strong for Harvard, with much of the play taking place deep in the INSEAD zone. The INSEAD team put up a spirited defense of their end zone, and with the help of some untimely penalties, eventually repelled the HBS attack to escape the first half with the score tied 0-0.

In the second half, the game continued with solid defensive play from the backs, which foiled INSEAD’s offensive momentum with the strong kick-fielding skills of Brendan “Blackout” McNamara (OG) and Warren “Baseball?” Hogarth (OG). Eventually, “Lance Corporal” Mike “Sixpack” Lloyd (HLS) would break through the INSEAD defense for a blazing 50-yard try that put the HBS team on the board first. The HBS squad continued to dominate play in the second half with tremendous leadership on the field from “Major” Joe Kim (OA), who was named the HBS B-side player of the tournament. HBS earned its second score of the game as Warren Hogarth recovered a kick in the opponent’s end zone. Wyler added the conversion to make the score 12-0. After a penalty try was awarded to INSEAD in the game’s final minute, the score stood at 12-7 and HBS B had taken home third place in the LBS tournament.

For the championship game, HBS A took on an LBS A-side that badly wanted to avenge its earlier loss. Determined to start more quickly than the day before, HBS came out playing extremely physical rugby, powering its way down the field, allowing Jeff “Sphinx” Miller (KSG) to score a try almost immediately. Refusing to be intimidated, London increased its level of play. The game was both clean and unusually violent, with 7 different London players requiring injury replacements. As HBS continued to accumulate points in the first half, with Wayshak scoring another try and Patrick successfully converting a penalty kick, the London attack became more desperate. Finally, in the last 10 minutes of the half, London threw everything it had in a frenzied attempt on the Harvard try line. Led by the fearless hitting of Whitworth (named Man of the Match) and Trimble, HBS displayed the defensive skills it had spent the last two months perfecting, stopping the London assault cold. The second half featured more of Harvard’s defense in combination with its powerful counterattack, leading to two more tries scored by Patrick and Joe “Thug Life” Harrington (HLS). London never breached the HBS defense, and Harvard completed its dominant march to victory, 29-0.

The team spent the rest of the weekend proving that it tours as well as it plays, enjoying the hospitality of its London Business School hosts. The team would also like to give a special thanks to Rafa Soto (OF) for planning and executing a nearly flawless tour.

HBS Rugby will be hosting a Round 1 Admit Party at Tommy Doyle’s (96 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA) on February 28, 2008 at 9 PM. The party will feature Joshua Tree, Boston’s #1 U2 T
ribute Band. HBS Rugby will go on tour in Ireland during spring break before heading to the MBA World Championships at Duke in April. The team still welcomes new players – come try it out, no prior experience necessary. Rugby is a fast-paced, exciting sport that has positions for players of all sizes and abilities. Contact team Co-Captains Jeff Todd ([email protected]) or Liam Patrick ([email protected]) to get involved.

The Harvard Business School Rugby Football Club would like to thank our sponsors: Anglo Irish Bank, McKesson, RR Donnelley Private Equity Services, Tommy Doyle’s Irish Pub and Newcastle Brown Ale.