As weather reports of heavy rain and snow proved false and a clear blue Saturday morning sky appeared instead, the Williams Rugby Football Club (WRFC) White Dawgs were forced to find ways to make their own rain – an eventuality for which they were well-prepared following the team’s spring break tour of Ireland. In the first competition of the spring season, the men laid five tries on visiting Castleton State to crush their opponents 33-3 for an emphatic start.
The Williams pack locked down the set-pieces to suffocate its opponents from the start of the game. Carl Whipple ’12 had a hot try in the 15th minute to open the scoring. Quick ball movement among the backs then led winger Geoff McCrossan ’11 to touch down in the far corner before Brian Hartmann ’11 followed to slide in 10 minutes later. On another fluid interplay between the backs, McCrossan again scored wide to widen the White Dawgs’ lead.
In the second half, center Corey Benson ’11 powered through to score Williams’ fifth try of the day. Castleton State finally collected a penalty to bring the score to 33-3 partway through the half. With the game put away, reserves James Kim ’10, Andrew Lee ’10, Jay Gurney ’13, Justin Hunte ’13 and Kush Fanikiso ’13 were able to log significant minutes. According to Fanikiso, “We were just chillin’.” Late in the game, Conor Ryan ’12 broke his hand swatting a defender’s face out of the way.
The B-side game produced similar results, dominating the second half and making a comeback. Consistent ball movement wide by the A-backs allowed winger Billy Revan ’13 to showcase his talents, as the rookie scored down the line. Fanikiso’s ball over the shoulder running style also allowed him strike under the posts. Coming on for an injured Kaison Tanabe ’13, Kim darted off a scrum to score Williams’ third try. Then, Stan Monfront ’13 incredibly broke through three tacklers and then beat the cover defenders to touch down. Final score: A 19-7 victory for Williams ‘B.’
Over spring break, the team traveled to Ireland for a prelude for the spring season. The weeklong trip included a training session with Ireland rugby veteran Bernard Jackman, two friendly matches and an overnight trip to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher.
The team’s first match against Clontarf RFC proved to be a learning experience for Williams. Clontarf had just finished its season ranked as one of the top U19 sides in the province. The Irish squad’s experience and cohesiveness showed, as Clontarf outclassed Williams 28-7 on the day.
Williams’ next match against Stillorgan RFC proved to be the breakout game on tour. The first half turned out to be a gritty struggle, as the White Dawgs found themselves down 14-21 at the break before making a comeback to dominate the second half, and the men ultimately raised their arms and pumped their fists in celebration of the 35-28 victory.
The team is looking forward to continuing the season as it hosts the JD tournament on campus next weekend.