Nolan Pakulski, Contributing Writer

   The Men’s Rugby Team recently tra

The UMF Men’s Rugby Team prepared vigorously for the Beast of the East tournament (Photo courtesy of UMF Men’s Rugby Team)

velled to the proving grounds of Rhode Island to participate in the Beast of the East rugby tournament.

   Beast of the East is the largest collegiate rugby tournament in the world. Teams from all over the country come to compete for the cup. Last year, the UMF Rugby team won the finals— a goal that they were hoping to accomplish again this year.

   The tournament began with a rough start. “The weather [on] the first day was absurdly wet and chilly. Beast is near the coast, so this is super typical,” said team member Tom Young in an email interview. “We at least had [a tent] this year, but it didn’t help much. At one point we even cut a hole in some trash bags and wore them as ponchos.”.

   Despite the bad weather, the team defeated Johnson and Wales University of Rhode Island, in an astounding victory of 75 to 0. Next, UMF played Franklin Pierce University of New Hampshire, with a final score of 73 to 0— another impressive victory for the men’s rugby team.

   The next day of the tournament was the finals matches for the cup, during which UMF played UMass Dartmouth in a very close and well-matched game. Patrick Powers, a second year on the team, said, “They came out and scored 13 points in probably the first ten minutes, and then we came back and scored five point. Then we scored two more times (10 points) in the second half. We were up 15-13 for the last 15 minutes, [but] in the last two minutes they broke through and scored.”

   Although doing remarkably well, the team fell slightly short of their goal. “We lost in our semi-final match match against UMass Dartmouth. That’s the team that we beat in the cup championship [last year],” said Powers. “It was very intense. They played really well and they definitely earned it.”

   Part of the reason they lost was due to situational components to the game. Opportunities aren’t made on the field, and sometimes the ball doesn’t go the right way, as is the same with all sports. “This is such a good team, full of great players, and we know what we’re capable of on the rugby pitch,” said Powers.

   One of the ways that the players prepared for the tournament was by cutting their hair as a way to raise funds for the team, and to simply continue the tradition. “Everyone is recommended to do it once during their four years,” said Powers. “It raises a good deal of money for us.”

    This fundraiser begins by deciding which players are going to participate, and then people bid to cut the hair of these players. The highest bidder gets to cut the hair of the player that they bid on in any way they want. Powers bid in the auction to cut Nikolai Lane’s hair, another player on the team, and he won the bidding and got to decide how it was cut. “It is a fun tradition… and a really great conversation starter,” said Young.

   Anyone interested in joining the Men’s Rugby team can contact, Jack Neary at john.neary@gmail.com.

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