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Men...s Rugby Goes 1-2 in France,Injury Sends Player to Hospital

By Peter Lamb

The MIT Men’s Rugby Team spent spring break on a tour of France, going 1-2 with one match cancelled because of a serious injury.

The team arrived in Paris on Friday and played its first game the following day against INA–PG (Institute National d’Agronomie de Paris Grignon). Although jetlagged, MIT had a strong start, quickly showing offensive and defensive superiority. Tech Rugby maintained control of the match, eventually winning 27-7.

Team members left Paris on Monday morning, traveling southward through the beautiful French countryside to Lyon via train. They played their second game Tuesday night following a nationwide demonstration that shut down much of the city earlier that day. This match was a hard-fought battle against a very technically trained and fit ENS-Lyon (Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon).

MIT was down 5-25 entering the second half, but shortly after play recommenced, one player, who wished to remain anonymous, broke his neck and needed hospitalization. He remains in a Lyon hospital and is up and walking with a neckbrace. The game was called because of the serious injury.

Wednesday morning, the team boarded another train to travel to Montpellier, near the southern coast of France, for Thursday’s match against ENSAM (Ecole National Superieure d’Agronomie de Montpellier). MIT quickly took the lead and maintained it for the majority of the game.

Tired from travel and playing without a few key players who stayed behind in Lyon to look after the injured player, MIT began to lose its tight control of the game. ENSAM capitalized on this, and won 15-10 on a late game rally that just slipped past MIT’s defense.

The fourth and final game on Saturday afternoon in the picturesque Paris suburb of Guyancourt was against the large and skillful Bouygues team. This was the most intense match of the tour, and both teams showed some of their best rugby of the season. Bouygues won 25-17.

The team had a week to rest and recover from the tour before its first game of the spring season on Saturday against the South Shore Anchors. The first home game will be Sunday, April 15 against the Ironsides Rugby Football Club at Briggs Field.