|Teams:||MIT vs Imperial College|
|Played:||09/02/2012 @ MIT|
|Score:||19 - 31 MIT loss|
MIT began their Fall 2012 Season with a home challenge game against Imperial College (London) on Sunday. The game was played in excellent late summer conditions with a solid surface lending itself to good running rugby.
Imperial got the better of the early exchanges as MIT took a long time to settle. MIT failed to control their own possession leading to handling errors and allow Imperial to stay in their territory for much of the first quarter.
The pressure paid off for Imperial on the 17th minute when a series of drives close to the line saw their prop cross the line for the opening try.
This seemed to spark MIT into life. A series of line breaks from the flankers and the back three put MIT deep into enemy territory with a great scoring chance. Loose play at the ruck led to another turn over and Imperial capitalized. A clearing kick was allowed to bouncy and their speedy winger pounced, getting between the full back and winger to hack it clear and score under the posts.
MIT, to their credit, responded immediately. A well-executed off-the-top lineout was spun wide where debutant James did well to draw defenders in midfield, off-loading to Mike who beat a few defenders before releasing Xavier on the right wing who showed great pace, on his return from injury, to score in the corner. The conversion was missed leaving the half time score 12-5 to the visitors.
MIT’s early season rustiness caught them again immediately after the break when a defensive lapse allowed Imperial put another score on the board with the water bottles barely off the field.
The game then settled in to a pattern of MIT building phases with flankers Frank and Steve and hooker Anthony making strong runs on the fringes. Turnovers were costing the home side, however, as their replacement ten was punishing each one with a long and accurate clearance kick.
The home side did finally have success in the eleventh minute when quick recycling at several rucks gave returning prop Zach an opportunity to barge over the line to reduce the deficit to seven points.
Imperial responded ten minutes later with a score of their own to increase the gap to 12. In a well match second half MIT duly obliged with a return score as full back Mike was in a group of three who held an overlap on the left and dotted down in the corner.
With fifteen minutes to go MIT kept pushing for the winning score as they trailed by five points. Imperial, marshaled well by their fly half, sought to run down the clock with long clearance kicks and energy sapping mauls. This tactic worked well for them and indeed they finished with a flourish getting a final try to finish the game.
Imperial continue their tour with games against Harvard and Princeton in the coming weeks and should enjoy good success. They played a good brand of rugby and were excellent ambassadors for their club.
As for MIT, the league opener awaits on Saturday next with a tough test at home to Seacoast. While there are many areas to work on after this game, two focused practices should right the wrongs and see the team in good stead.
Tries: Xavier, Zach, Mike B
Conv: John G x 2