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Unfortunately, the much anticipated blast from the past clash with Coast Guard on 4/6 was cancelled by Coast Guard, who cited budget concerns. Fortunately, the Burlington Men’s Rugby Club was also looking for a match to tune up for their spring season. The cold spring sun shone down on Youngman Field, as 30 men took to the turf.

A plague of injuries had swept thru The MCRC the preceding week, so many new faces donned the Blue, with many of those sporting a novel number on their backs.

Before the match began, the teams worked a variety of situations with the ref keeping close watch. For nearly 25 minutes the two teams traded kick-offs, scrums and lineouts, each time playing for just a phase or two before re-starting at the next set piece. Middlebury looked in the top form early on, the forwards running some beautiful scrums and lineouts. Eightman Laird “Godzilla” Silsby ’15 was looking especially sharp, but unfortunately injured his knee after a 50 meter break in one of the last plays before gametime.

Once underway, the match showed that this was an excellent match-up. Two new, young Scottish centers for Burlington showed what a dominant duo can do and scorched the Midd backline for three tries in the first half. But the boys in Blue fought back, and scored thru the forwards before the half. Keep your eye on freshman phenom David “I am The Natural” Cromwell, who has exploded onto the rugby scene, and with his electric play is threatening to steal Allan “El Natural” Stafford’s nickname right out from under him.

The Middlebury scrum, accustomed to dominating competition, battled all day long with the BRFC. It was a great experience for the three freshman in the front row to go up against a big and experienced pack. We won some, and lost some, and certainly learned plenty. Overall terrific job including stand-out performances from first time starters Graham “I need a nickname” Shaw, and Miller “So do I” Judge. Senior veteran Luke Dauner also had a stormer while taking over the #8 duties.

The second half saw sweeping changes for the Middlebury line-up, including a host of players making their rugby debut. The newbies more than held their own, and put together some classic phases, while winning the 2nd half 2 tries to 1. Final tally, Burlington 4 tries, Midd 3 (there was no kicking for points.)

After the game the two teams enjoyed freshly grilled, all-beef hamburgers covered in melted queso americano under the finally warm sun. Thanks to Burlington for a great day of rugby!

FIRST XV: Graham Shaw ’16 (First start, non-competitive), Miller Judge ’16 (First start, non-competitive), Cole Baker ’16, Ben Stasiuk (C) ’13.5, Tom Lynch ’14, Nate Brown ’13, Devin Risinger ’14, Luke Dauner ’13, Griffin Jones ’16, Dusty Attwood-Dupont ’13.5, David Cromwell ’16 (First start, non-competitive), Taran Veerman ’15, Tucker Hopkins ’16 (First start, non-competitive), Geoff Genova ’15, Allan Stafford ’13.5

Substitutes: Charlie “Mono” Kunze ’15 (First game at Middlebury), Astor Nummelin Carlberg ’13.5, Blake Shapskinsky ’15, Patrick Devereux ’15, Will Schwartz ’16 (First rugby game ever), Eli Feinberg ’16, Ethan Vorel ’14.5, Parker Henz ’16 (First rugby game ever), Tariq Monsour ’16 (First rugby game ever), Lucas Onetti ’15, Jessy Jimenez ’16

Spotted at the game: Andrew Jones ’12.5, Nat Kelner ’12.5, Brian Sirkia ’12.5

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