By Dan Cavanaugh ‘15
The Booth Rugby Team descended on Austin, Texas on a Friday evening looking to face off against the other top MBA programs in the country. The team brought a healthy mix of veteran 2nd year players as well as 1st years who were getting their first action on a rugby pitch, and the team played aggressively with a lot of heart throughout the tournament. In our first match, Booth came out strong against SMU Cox, jumping out to an early 14-0 lead in the first half. 1st year James Jenkins made an incredible play, intercepting a pass on defense and returning it all the way down the pitch for the try. However, SMU Cox came back, eventually scoring the winning try with less than two minutes left to win the match 25 - 21.
In the second match, the team was hungry for a victory after coming so close in the morning. In this match, against the UT-Austin undergrad B-side, Booth once again came out strong, with great backline play allowing for 3 tries to be scored in the first half, including great tries by 2nd year wings Jake Gomolinski and Aitor Maiz. Booth had a commanding advantage in time of possession, asserting their will over UT with smart passing, great ball control, and a dominating defense, resulting in a 29-0 victory.
The third match of the tournament came on Sunday as a 10's match against the combined forces of Stanford and Kellogg. Despite being outsized by the competition, Booth once again played a great match, with a couple of successful chip and chases from 2nd year co-captain Dan Cavanaugh which resulted in tries. The lead went back and forth the entire match, and while both teams scored 5 tries, Stanford/Kellogg scored a try in the corner as time expired to take the match 35 - 31.
Despite finishing 1-2 in the tournament, Booth continued playing the top schools competitively, being only two tries away from finishing with a 3-0 record. Booth was one of the highest scoring teams in the tournament, averaging a whopping 27 points per match. The team also recorded the school’s first shutout victory in 8 years.
Next, on November 9th, Booth took on rival Kellogg in front of almost 100 cheering fans. Booth started off the match in control early, driving the ball down into Kellogg territory and dominating time of possession in the first half. While Booth had the ball down near the try line for an extended period of time, the team was unable to punch it in for a score before the end of the first half.
In the second half, the match continued to be physical, but Kellogg brought the ball back, eventually pushing through for the try to go up 7-0. Again while Booth controlled possession and had the ball in Kellogg territory throughout the 2nd half, Kellogg scored a 2nd try on a blocked kick following a suspect call. But the Booth team wouldn't quit, and promptly marched the ball back into Kellogg territory, eventually getting a try in the corner by 2nd year Pete Christman with 4 minutes to play. The Booth team continued to fight, bringing the ball to within a meter of the try line once more, but could not punch it in for the try, and the time ran out on the team with Kellogg earning the 14-7 victory.