Fall 2010 Newsletter
Captain Nick Finger
President Sam Power
Yale Finishes Season Strong with Win Against Norwich
Yale played well on its parents weekend versus Norwich, notching a win against the varsity program. We were on our home pitch despite a home football game thanks to the club sports office roping off the field and the tenacious Yale rugby parents who made it happen. The pitch was plagued by huge, gusty winds, and Yale was able to start the match with the wind at its back. Yale had a new backline arrangement to adjust for two starters who were out with injuries. Evan Edwards '09, the usual flyhalf, was moved to fullback, and fullback Sam Cartmell '10 moved to inside center. Sophomore Arturo Zindel was given his first start on the A side at flyhalf after his outstanding play at the position for the B side. Five minutes into the match, the adjustments proved to pay off. Arturo was able to find space and move the ball wide quickly. Edwards was able to execute a beautiful 2-on-1 and put winger Matt Lacasse '10 away in the corner for a quick try. A narrowly missed conversion put the count at 5-0 Yale. Utilizing some good tactical kicking and strong defense Yale was able to keep the ball in Norwich's end for most the first half. Norwich held strong with good tackling and good defense and Yale was only able to put up 3 more points the entire half, coming on an Edwards penalty kick. This left the score at half time at 8-0 Yale.
The second half put Yale up against a strong wind, which Norwich used to their advantage. However, five minutes into the second half, good backline movement allowed wing Talyor Giffen '09 to break free out wide and score early, outpacing Norwich's sluggish defense. The conversion was attempted in the gusting wind, but came up short, leaving Yale with a 13-0 lead. Norwich's kicking improved with the wind at their backs, and they kept Yale pinned in their own half much of the remainer of the second half. Norwich put together some good ball possession, and threatened many times, but the Yale defense was able to turn them back. Fifteen minutes into the second half, Norwich picked off a bobbled Yale pass on a fluke play and scored between the uprights to put them on the board, to the tune of 13-7. Yale defense held strong the rest of the game. At the 30 minute mark, outside center Sam Cartmell '10 put away Matt Lacasse '10 on the wing and Matt smartly centered the ball before touching it down, allowing Edwards to make the conversion despite the gusting winds. This brought the count to 20-7 Yale. Refusing to lay down, Norwich continued to battle. After a few mistakes and a penalty, Norwich was able to secure a lineout deep in Yale's end and mauled the lineout into the zone for the final score of the day. With the try, the referee blew his whistle and the final score stood at 20-7 Yale. Man of the match: second rower Andrew Moir. Notables: fullback Evan Edwards and flyhalf Arturo Zindel.
The goal of the day for Yale was to minimize mistakes. After watching a few of the matches on film, it was apparent that every score that Yale let in throughout the season (save for the Army and Dartmouth games) was due to foolish mistakes or penalties. In the matches we watched, Yale did not give up any well-earned tries that came off of a multiple phase offensive attack. We knew that if we could just eliminate the 3 or 4 key errors we were committing a game, we could play with anyone. We proved it with a relatively mistake-free effort against Norwich.
The B game started with Yale playing into the wind, which had picked up since the A side match. We were thin in the backs and had to improvise, playing two wing forwards (Sam Teicher '12 and Rewon Child '12) on the wing and a scrumhalf (Sam Power '12) at fly half. We were also outsized in the pack by about 25 pounds per player. To compound these issues, we also played a side composed almost entirely or underclassmen. With all of those factors against us, Yale played some tenacious defense and held strong. Norwich gave us some trouble in the scrums but Yale held strong, stealing some key lineouts. Early in the game, Norwich slotted a penalty kick to take the lead. About fifteen minutes later, Yale was under some more pressure in the scrum and 8 man Ross Brendel was able to pick and go from the back. He made some good ground, secured quick second phase ball with a good post and quick support from the flankers and outside center Wariz Anifowoshe '10 was able to break off a great run and outpace Norwich's backs to score under the posts. The conversion was made and Yale held a 7-3 lead at the end of the first 30 minute period.
After seeing what Norwich had to offer, Yale turned it up a notch in the second 30. Freshman flanker Etkin "The Barbarian" Tekin was able to make two strong runs, slashing through the opposition to score twice for yale. Not to be outdone, 8 man Ross Brendel '11 made another great run after a multiple phase attack. Yale was able to take advantage of the wind and keep Norwich pinned inside its own half for almost the entire period. At the end of the second thiry, Yale held a 24-3 lead.
I had to ref the third 30, so the details are a little thinner. One thing that stood out was that Yale dominated field position and possession depsite playing into the strong, gusty wind. We were able to punch in 4 tries in the shortened 30 minute period. Wing Harvey Johnson-Black '12 touched one down in the corner after a nice connection in the backs. Sam "Bearded Sam" Teicher '12 made his time at wing noteworthy by streaking 60 meters down the left sideline for a nice try in the corner. Center Wariz Anifowoshe '10 was able to outstep Norwich's defense after beautiful offloads by Patrick Mitchell '11 and Andy Detty '09. To cap things off, Detty, a back rower moonlighting at center for the B side, was able to get around the corner on Norwich's defense and touch one down casually in the try zone. All in all , it was a great game for the B-side. Final Score: Yale 48-3. Man of the match: flanker Etkin Tekin '12. Notables: 8 man Ross Brendel '11, tighthead prop Nick Finger '12, and flyhalf "Irish" Sam Power '12.
To cap off the season, the Yale B side really played good rugby. Having extra coaches on hand really helped this season. Forwards coach Frank Heaven was able to spend critical time with the B side forwards on Fridays, allowing backs coach Brendan Leahy and I were able to focus on the first side. Midway through the season, Yale alumnus "Crazy" Dave Fisher '99 came aboard and was able to focus on the B side backs, a move that proved to be incredibly fruitful. The individual time the B-side was able to get with the coaches fixed many of their early mistakes and really improved their gameplay. The other factor that helped, especially late in the season, was great practice attendance on Thursday and Fridays. We were able to practice with fully opposed back lines and set pieces, which allowed us to better simulate the game. This helped both the A and B sides. As this weekend proved, the future is bright for Yale rugby.