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Rugby Competes Well In Bahamas Tourney

By Chris Sununu
team member

The MIT rugby club returned home last week from a highly successful week of rugby as they were featured, as the only team from the United States, in the Easter Rugby Festival in Freeport, Bahamas.

The festival, held every year, features five teams from around the globe that compete for the coveted Easter Cup. This year's competition featured teams from Canada, England, the United States, and the Bahamas.

The first game kicked off on Thursday with a battle against the Freeport team which has been fiercely trying to bring the Cup back to Freeport after its eight-year absence.

The first half showed the Engineers' rustiness as the Freeport team had the upper hand in taking a 170 lead. However, soon the lights began to shine for MIT.

After a three-year absence MIT's Jaco Pretorius booted a couple of kicks through the posts to put MIT on the board. The second half also proved well for the Engineers' front pack as they held their opponents but failed to produce enough ball for the backline to score.

The final score was a 216 loss for the Engineers. We didn't play the game we were capable of," said Jeff Bucci. "I guarantee tomorrow will be a different story."

The second day did prove different for the MIT ruggers as they took the field against another Bahamas team, the Exiles. MIT came out strong and pushed a try across in the first seven minutes of the game with a beautiful run by Toshiyuki Hino G.

The front pack held strong to give good position for Pretorius to boot three beautiful kicks from distances of up to 55 meters. Later, festival organizer Kirk Antoni, said that the kicks were "of world class caliber."

By half-time the Engineers had a 216 lead, which was soon diminished by a fierce pack of the Exiles early in the second half. The lead was dwindled down to three before forward John Walsh G hopped on a misplayed ball in the try zone to boost the lead.

The Exiles again closed it to a one-point game, but the MIT pack held strong behind Tim Briarer and Fernando Vargas G, to secure the 2726 victory.

Day three was also victorious for the MIT Engineers as they defeated the Montreal Irish. Once again strong play of MIT's back line, led by Huw Price, pushed two scores across to take the early lead. The front pack held true to form and only allowed the Irish to enter the zone once for a triumphant 138 victory.

"Smart pregame preparation for the unprepared Irish is what helped us win this one, said Mike Fife G.

The final day of the tour gave the Engineers their biggest challenge as they faced off against the English Artisans, a team made up of previous Division I and some International English side players. Their skills were clear from the onset as they took a quick lead they never relinquished.

Experience proved to be the deciding factor as the English back line weaved in and out of the tired MIT team. MIT did present a respectable 27 points against the English, including a surprise penalty try by forward Chris Sununu '97 set up by prop Vargas.

The final score, under the blistering Bahamas heat totaled 6227 in favor of the skilled English. "Considering the heat and our exhaustion, I thought we held together well," said Steve Murray G.

The Engineers finished the week with a respectable 22 record against some powerful teams. The Engineers come home to defend last year's Social Division Championship against the Boston Old Boys and Harvard Business School.