The Men’s Rugby Club continued its maturation process over the last two weeks, turning in two dominating performances against its remaining conference opponents and extending a three-game winning streak. In its final home match of the season last Saturday, the White Dawgs put on an offensive clinic, destroying Keene State by the largest margin in recent history, 81-5.
Every member of the A-side stepped up his game, and the WRFC executed with cunning and efficiency in completely dominating every facet of the game. The scrum appeared to be an entirely different unit than the one that had played the first two games of the season, beating the larger Keene package in line-outs, scrumdowns, and loose rucking. During one extended series in the first half, all fifteen members of the team contributed to a try, either in running with the ball or winning it in the numerous rucks.
Ian Lewis ’01 showed why his is the best 8-man in the conference, racking up an amazing four tries. The backline played flawlessly, as fullback Forrest Wittenmeier ’02 pounded through the Keene State defense, drawing defenders and setting up tries for his teammates. Chido Alozie ’01, Keil Mueller ’99, and John Crowley-Delman ’01 each contributed two tries, and Ryan Kurlinski ’01 added another as he scored the try of the game by scoring after a beautiful 40-meter continuous give-and-go with fly-half Jack Haney ’99.
The B-side game was equally lopsided. The B’s continued to look like a formidable side, controlling the ball on set pieces and executing well when the ball got to the backs. Tries by Kurlinski, Emmitt Tracy ’02, and Nicholas Brandt ’02 helped propel the “Killer B’s” to a resounding 37-5 victory.
This past Saturday, the WRFC took its game on the road, traveling 3.5 hours north to battle Johnson State. Johnson proved to be a much tougher opponent than Keene, fielding a strong, athletic side. Despite Johnson’s aggressiveness, Williams showed more skill and knowledge of the game and was able to control the ball and dictate tempo. Williams began strong, getting on the board first when Lewis scored from a set play off a five-meter lineout. Williams continued to maintain control, but Johnson’s defense was effective and the Dawgs did not score again in the first frame. Johnson State was able to knot the score at 5 before the half after a Williams mistake gave them possession inside the Dawg 22.
Unfazed by the tied score, Williams came out hard in the second half determined to win. The forwards continued to beat Johnson State to the ball and won all loose play. The forwards also ran the ball well, as Steve Taylor ’01, Kenny Marines ’01, and Matt Bryson ’99 all gained significant yardage and began to exploit holes in the Johnson defense. The backs took advantage, with Alozie bursting around the corner for a 50 meter try.
The Dawgs played relentlessly, and Lewis scored his second try of the game from the exact same play on the lineout, this time dragging five Johnson players into the try zone with him. The backs put the final touches on the dominating half, as Wittenmeier burst through a hole and scored from 25 meters out. Mueller converted all three second half tries, giving the WRFC a hard-fought but very convincing 26-5 victory.