You don’t often hear rugby associated with MIT, but for the 30 players on the MIT Men’s Rugby team, it’s something that brings them together. Started in 1949, the club is one of the oldest in Boston and the founding core of Boston’s Super League club. A mixture of different countries, languages, and styles of play, the team has pulled together, seeking to play at their top level at all times. For the past four months, men’s rugby has been practicing and preparing to defend the Division III NERFU (New England Rugby Football Union) Cup. Whether playing in snow, sleet, or sun, the team knows that this is their chance to retain their championship and prove that they can play Division II rugby.
Two years ago, the club was much different. Almost relegated to Division IV, the club came under the leadership of Coach Sean Christie who changed the way MIT played its game, and the team has been improving since. The next two seasons the club finished second in Division III and won the NERFU Cup. Now with a faster, more aggressive, and more intense style of play, MIT’s Men’s Rugby has reinvented itself and looks forward to a chance to defend their title.
The result of these continuing changes is visible in the rugby team’s current record. This spring season alone, MIT has posted a 4-1 record against Division II teams with strong victories against Charles River (37-0) and Portland (50-26), the club has shown itself to be a threat to higher level teams. Additionally, MIT has scrapped some tough wins against Old Gold (19-5) and North Shore (27-15), proving that they are ready for the challenge of Division II. However, with its sole loss against Providence (9-46), MIT was reminded that the club has room to improve.
Due to these recent successes, they have a positive outlook. In a conversation with team president Mike P. Byrne G, he noted that the team has “a great mix of talented younger guys and more experienced older guys [in] the club.” He did note, though, that success will not occur without challenges. Most particularly is “attracting new undergrad and grad students to the club” as “[the team] faces a lot of competition from football, soccer, and other sports, particularly for undergrads.”
In spite of these challenges, the club looks forward to a bright future. Fuelled by the dedication of the players and Coach Christie’s leadership, the club is ready for the games ahead and ready for the chance to break into Division II.