Yale’s men’s club rugby team is on the road to Nationals.

The 16-8 victory over the United States Coast Guard Academy was an important win for the team because Coast Guard is the best team the Elis have played all year. This year’s team is undefeated with five more matches before Nationals. Coast Guard, which was undefeated before losing to the Bulldogs Saturday, finished third at Nationals last year.

“On Saturday, we showed that we can play with the best,” Nick Moscow ’06 said.

Sean Wallbridge ’08 said it was a close game.

“We were defending the try-line [on defense], and then the whistle blew,” Wallbridge said.

Moscow said there has long been “beef” between Yale and Coast Guard, because two years ago a Coast Guard player kicked a Yale player in the face. Wallbridge also accused Coast Guard of unsportsmanlike conduct after Saturday’s game.

“They yelled, ‘See you in two weeks!’ instead of congratulating us,” Wallbridge said.

Rugby is a kind of mix between soccer and American football. There are 15 people on the field at a time, with 8 forwards and 7 backs. It is a rough, fast-moving game, played without pads or time-outs over two long 40-minute halves.

The Yale University Rugby Football Club was established in 1875. This year, there are about 45 players on the club team, lead by captain Michael Atkins ’05.

Paul-Harvey Weiner ’08 said Atkins was more than just another player.

“[Atkins] is like a second coach for the team,” Weiner said.

Wallbridge said Atkins often seemed unstoppable.

“[Atkins] is quite a machine,” Wallbridge said.

Rugby is an intercollegiate club team that plays college teams during the fall and spring season. In the fall, practices are held three times a week for two hours. During the winter, the team trains in the gym, and in the spring they play in the Ivy League tournament and the Beast of the East tournament. Last year, on their international tour, the team went to Ireland.

“We expect to get deep into the playoffs, especially with a home-game advantage,” Weiner said.

This Saturday is the playoff match against Trinity, but Moscow says he expects an easy win.

“We already man-handled them,” Moscow said.

Wallbridge was not as confident.

“In rugby, it is not about the better team, but who wants it more,” Wallbridge said. “We can’t afford to slack off.”

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