The MIT Men’s Rugby Club took on Saratoga RFC this past Saturday. For those who have never played Rugby, the rules are similar to, dare I say, Association football (soccer), and American football. The MIT team plays according to Rugby Union rules, in which the main objective is to score “tries,” where an offensive player grounds the ball in the in-goal area, located behind the crossbars. After a successful try, which is worth five points, the team can kick the ball between the uprights for an additional two points. Furthermore, a team can dropkick the ball between the uprights during regular play for three points.
Like soccer, play is continuous, players can be awarded yellow and red cards, albeit with slightly different associated consequences, and players throw the ball into play on the touch lines. Of course, nuances of the game such as when players are hoisted into the air during lineouts, or when players make elaborate backwards passes in order to make openings for runs, or when players battle for the ball in a scrum, are unique to Rugby.
After trailing 10-17 at the end of the first half, and knowing they would have the advantage of the wind at their backs in the second half, MIT seemed poised to take over the game. Falling behind 10-20 early in the second half, MIT managed to even the score thanks to tries by Mick O’Connor and John Casey G. John Gaffney completed the conversion after their second try for their first lead of the game.
Fans cheered as the team nearly had another opportunity to score, but unfortunately, the team was unable to complete the comeback as Saratoga scored twice more for a final score of 22-30. The team, now 4-1, still has their eyes set on the playoffs if they can beat Monadnock this coming Saturday and Harvard Business School on November 8.