In the last weekend of October, the Chicago Booth Rugby Club travelled down to sunny Austin, Texas for the annual “Fall Brawl” to battle against some of the best teams on the MBA circuit. The 27-strong team, a mix of veterans and first timers, represented Booth’s largest-ever participation in the tournament.
In the first match of the tournament, Booth came out aggressively against SMU and jumped to a lead of 21-0 by the end of the first half. The forwards led the way with Julian Rowlands (Co-Captain, ‘17) and Brandon Hemming (‘17) both punching in tries from a few yards out and flanker Rob Weir (‘18) trampling a few SMU men on a 30-meter run up the sideline. In the second half, SMU managed to get a few points on the board before Booth finished the job with tries by inside center Kyle Veatch (‘18), who took a pass from the James McDougall (Australian exchange student) up the middle, and a long run from flanker Andrew Shanley (‘18), who powered his way right through the heart of SMU’s defense. Outside center Dan O’Brien (‘17) was perfect on all kick conversions for the 35-14 win over SMU.
In the second match, Booth faced off against Wharton - the tournament favorites and eventual champions - who came out of the gates fast with a couple tries and held Booth scoreless with a 21-0 lead at the end of the first half. After a halftime huddle and a change in defensive strategy, Booth slowed the advance of Wharton, but failed to put any points on the board, losing 28-0.
In the semi-final on Sunday morning, Booth, down a few key players due to overexertion on the dance floors of Austin, matched up against HBS. HBS jumped out to an early lead, but Booth responded with an interception by inside center Kyle Veatch (‘18) who ran it in for a try before the first half ended with HBS’s advantage 14-5. In the second half, Booth battled back with a try from forward Rob Weir (‘18) who showed off his speed with another run up the sideline. Booth continued to fight until the end of the game, but was outlasted by HBS, losing the match 28-10.
Despite getting knocked out in the semi-final, Booth, with just a few weeks of practice under their belt, looked strong in their first games of the year against the best MBA teams in the country. “Booth gets started a full month after all of our rivals, leaving us with half the prep time of every team we faced in Austin”, said Co-Captain Julian Rowlands (’17). “Despite that, our first years brought a ton of athleticism and heart to the field and our second years really showed their experience. We are excited to bring those weapons to bear against Kellogg and feel well-positioned to earn some hardware at the MBA Rugby World Cup at Duke next spring.”
Booth Rugby will face off against archrivals Kellogg on Sunday, November 13th at 2pm at Diversey Field in Lincoln Park for its final match of the fall season.