On May 3, men’s rugby, for the first time in over three years, bested its Amherst rivals by a final margin of 12-7. The team consists of six first-years and eight rookies in total, and the men set a tone of domination from the start of kickoff, notching one try in each half and resisting comeback efforts from their opponents.
The men’s forward pack, led by co-captain and prop Josh Geller ’14, more than made up for a disadvantage in size with technical skill, strategy and stamina, outwitting the Amherst pack at every turn and draining its energy with every set piece, maul and ruck. The Williams pack proved integral in the team’s defense, resisting the repeated and tedious battery of the Amherst forward assault, including a stop within a yard of scoring to prevent a tie in the second half.
The Williams back line, led by co-captain and fly half Eric Mintzer ’14, dominated the Amherst line, consistently punching through its defense and exploiting gaps and overlaps with textbook mastery. With deft handling, swift movement and the keen ability to consistently get the ball wide to the wings and brush past the Amherst back line defense, the Williams side conquered its rivals. While the forwards fought hard in the rucks and mauls to win and keep possession of the ball, it was the back line that proved integral for both scores.
For the first score, after a well-executed line out by the Williams pack and swift maneuvering by the back line, fullback Tomás Perez ’17 lured a lone Amherst defender into a two-on-one, drawing in the tackle before spinning the ball out to Forbes Wilson ’16, who triumphantly dashed into the try zone for the lone score of the first half.
The start of the second half began with a splendid try executed again by the Williams back line, despite playing a man down due to a yellow card. Wing Adam Resnick ’17 carried the ball in a breakaway run twenty yards into the Amherst red zone, and then avoided a tackle and a potential turnover with a well-executed kick, placing the ball just within the try zone. Perez took up the ensuing sprint, beating out the swift Amherst wing to dive on the ball and claim the score. Amherst would not let up in the second half, however, and in the 50th minute, the Amherst pack used its size to badger down the men and push the ball across the try line. The Amherst comeback was short-lived, however, as the men held on and triumphed 12-7.
The victory represents a notable capstone on the rugby careers of the men’s senior class. With the conclusion of their season, the Ephs will graduate Geller, Mintzer, Rene Rodriguez ’14, Emanuel McMiller ’14, Hamza Zaidan ’14 and Adam Strawbridge ’14. This victory is sure to be the foundation of a new legacy for the WRFC, with the strongest underclass in the team’s recent history.
“The stakes are always high when playing Amhest, and there’s nothing better than earning a win against our biggest rival,” Mintzer said.