On April 27-28 Boston Women’s Club traveled to Washington DC to take part in the 33rd Annual Ruggerfest Tournament hosted by the DC Furies. The club was excited to face fierce rematches against D1 rivals from the fall: NOVA and Philadelphia Women, and new competition from WPL teams: New York Women’s and the DC Furies. As our first match after the Boston Marathon bombings, Boston Women’s sported “Boston Strong” t-shirts and played wearing black armbands to honor those lost or injured in the attacks. Ready for lots of rugby, these 24 traveling players looked forward to representing their team and their city in this tournament.
Saturday morning started with a kick-off versus the New York Women’s Rugby Club. The notoriously hard-hitting club did not disappoint, particularly with a strong 8-man, but the Boston team came at that game with a pace and intensity that was unmatched by their competition. Boston emerged with a 12-7 victory over NYRC Women, and prepared to face the DC Furies. If Boston had all the pace in their first game, they seemed to lose it in the second while struggling to adapt to the overloads presented by the dynamic Furies backline. Boston backs worked extremely hard to support and cover the field, and the team posted two tries to the board, but could not find an answer for the Furies style of play ending the tough game with a loss 48-12. The team assessed their play, prepared to face NOVA next, and came roaring back with a vengeance defeating the “Big Purple” NOVA squad 52-0. After a long day, Boston players recuperated and readied to play Philly Women in the morning.
On Sunday Boston players took to the hill, knowing that a victory over Philly would mean a chance to play for the tournament championship. Having lost a tough match to Philly in the fall during league play, Boston knew they were facing a fierce pack of forwards, and all 15 stepped up dedicated to making it to the finals. Philly’s hard-hitting style did not waiver, and the Boston forwards stepped up to stop every advance they threw at the team. A five-minute standoff on the Boston try-line came to symbolize Boston player’s dedication to each other, and Philly found no answer for the lines and supporting style of the Bostonbackline. Boston emerged victorious 15-0 and faced a rematch against the DC Furies for the finals.
This time it was a tested and hungry squad that stepped on the pitch to face the Furies. Boston came out strong, with pace and huge support, making offloads, and ready to immediately clear out offensive rucks and maintain ball possession. Scoring two unconverted tries early in the half, Boston gained a quick lead and though the Furies tried, they could not find a way through Boston’s defensive wall. At the end of the half, the Furies finally found a reply punching through the the Boston hinge bringing their score card to 7 and the teams went into the second half with Boston up 10-7. Both sides worked to find a weakness in their opposition and at about 15 minutes left in the game, the Furies scored a second try and with the conversion they claimed the lead in the game, 14-10. But the relentless Boston team did not give up. All fifteen players working together to tackle, ruck, and support, they marched back down the field and with minutes left, Boston scored another try in the corner, and though unconverted, they regained the lead 15-14. The sidelines were in a frenzy through the final minutes of the game as both teams worked tirelessly to gain the upper hand, but with the final whistle it was the Boston squad that emerged victorious, having won against a team that had evaded them the day before, and having earned the title of 2013 Champions of Ruggerfest!