MIT close out season with win over Springfield Rifles

Teams:MIT vs Springfield Rifles Rugby Club
Played:11/14/2015 @ Springfield, MA
Score: 34 - 10 MIT win

On November, 14, 2015, MIT traveled to Springfield, MA on a chilly, windy day for their final match of the fall season. Early arrivals were treated to an intense flag football game at Van Horn Park. With the false perception that they still controlled their own playoff destiny, MIT were determined to put up as many points as possible in order to avoid a possible road playoff game. Unfortunately Springfield had other plans as they stole the opening kickoff and settled into MIT territory. MIT defended well and eventually kicked the ball out of their half.

Despite the wind, Hooker Toro had a solid day throwing in the line-out to Cody and Brendan. Off one such line-out, the MIT backs (including hybrid Alex) executed a perfect back-line move which ended in fullback James putting winger Hacksaw into space. Hacksaw (finishing off a stellar season as the team’s top try scorer) did the rest of the work as he sidestepped 1 defender and outpaced another for the opening score. Replacement kicker Fernando converted the try to make it 7-0. MIT worked the ball back near the Springfield goal line and prop Jarrad took the ball into contact and passed to fellow forward Nick who dove (magnificently) over for the try. Things continued to go MIT's way as James broke through the defense and passed to supporting winger Fernando who displayed his old track skills as he sprinted to the line to make it 17-0. A lapse in focus led to a penalty for Springfield and they chose to kick for points making it 17-3. Just before the half, the Springfield inside center was handed a yellow card for a dump tackle. MIT took advantage and Cody quick-tapped off another penalty and passed to Oggy who stormed through the defense to make it 22-3 at the half.

The cold must have affected Coach Sean's brain, as he had rare praise for the team at the half. With the wind in their favor, MIT looked to up their scoring rate in the second half. Unfortunately, Springfield once again had other plans as they played the majority of the first 10 minutes in MIT's half.

MIT struggled to keep up the momentum from the first half. Their first score of the second half came when the forward pack mauled the ball near the goal line. Diego-of-all-trades, filling in at scrum-half this week (where he was high-tackled, dump tackled, choked, and illegally hit all game) spotted a gap in the defense and dove over (gracefully) for the try. Fair-weather kicker James decided to take over kicking duties now that he had the wind at his back and converted the try to make it 29-3. Springfield responded as their flanker touched down for their first try of the day after a successful maul. The Springfield flanker had several negative opinions of the referee's calls and decided to voice them all at once. He was promptly given a yellow card and MIT were playing with a 2 man advantage. Despite the advantage, MIT were still unable to find space due to the narrow field and some solid Springfield rush defense. Finally, near the end of the game, off another strong scrum, 8-man Cody picked up the ball and dove (wonderfully) to finish MIT's scoring for a final of 34-10.

Man of the match: Alex (for the 3rd week in a row)

MIT finished the season in second place in the D3 South division, qualifying for the playoffs in the spring.