GRR on X  GRR on Facebook GRR in Instagram GRR Vimeo Library GRR on YouTube RuggaMatrix America Podcasts Support GRR on Patreon

What We Saw at Babson vs AIC

irish rugby tours

What We Saw at Babson vs AIC

Babson in green, AIC in white. Alex Goff photo.

Lightning and thunder plagued much of the rugby throughout the Northeast over the weekend, but with a little luck and some patience several of the games did indeed get played, including a very interesting non-conference meeting between top small-college team Babson, and NCR D1 side AIC.

The game was marked by a two-hour lightning delay that threatened to cancel the game altogether. But eventually the skies took pity on the players and they were able to complete the final 60 minutes. In the end, AIC came out 41-26 winners, but one major takeaway from the contest was that Babson is indeed a small-college contender.

Athletic and boasting good numbers, Babson is not short on height, but certainly short on experience. A heavily freshman-sophomore lineup facing AIC had a few seniors, but some of those were just in their first year of rugby.

Despite the early-season rust for both teams, AIC certainly looked a little more comfortable with making reads and reacting to what was in front of them. The YellowJackets put Babson under pressure early, forcing them to try to kick clear and then countering back to reassert the pressure. Eventually a smart counter sparked by wing Patrick Maclin set them up for an attacking lineout. AIC put center Liam Brannan through some traffic and then quick ball center it wide to inside center German Rossi who scored. 

Babson responded and used freshman Brice Muller to make some round. AIC defended hard but repeatedly infringed and eventually received a stern warning for all of the penalties in their 22.

Still AIC got out of it, mostly, as Babson had to try to relaunch from a scrum near midfield. But the YellowJackets pack shoved the Beavers backward. Babson regained the ball but their backs were no flat-footed, and as a result Rossi was able to step in and intercept a pass to take it to the line. He converted the try and AIC led 12-0 at 21 minutes. Moments later the game was suspended for lightning.

Back From The Break

Once back on the field AIC held possession for about six minutes before a break from Maclin once again set up a ruck near the Babson line, and finally prop Joseph Allard took it over for a 19-0 lead.

But Babson didn’t roll over. With flanker Charles Price laying in some massive tackles and skyscraper locks Dash Scura and Kehinde Adele stealing lineout ball and making inroads, they started to put AIC on their heels. Scura broke through and some brave tackling brought him down just short of the line. The forwards consolidated nicely and put it over.

That made it 19-7 and it was almost 19-14 with Muller breaking through, but his run was called back for obstruction.

Maclin was very good for AIC and showed his astonishing pace when flyhalf Augusto Arguello launched a wiper kick for his wing. Babson had players back to cover the bouncing ball, but Maclin just sped past them all to nab the ball and touch it down.

Babson responded by punishing an AIC penalty, taking the lineout, and mauling it over. Interestingly, it was flyhalf and captain Reed Santos who scored it.

And it was a back-and-forth game. Babson never took the lead, but they didn’t back down and were very physical in the breakdown. Muller’s running became more of a feature for Babson and finally his efforts were rewarded with a try.

Babson Won't Go Away

At 29-21 Babson was in striking distance but a series of penalties and a nice quick tap from Jered Rhodes set up a try for AIC’s Arguello. A brilliant kick to touch from Santos turned a fairly innocuous penalty occurring inside the Babson half into a lineout five meters from the AIC line. The throw was not straight, but Babson actually stole the ensuing scrum and quickly put Gavin Mestler in at the corner. Now it was 36-26. But there wasn’t enough time for Babson. AIC ended up scoring at the death with a quick tap setting up Arguello for his second.

The Upshot

Overall, Rossi and Arguello were very smart in the backline and Maclin was a huge danger on the edge. In the pack AIC worked hard, and had to with No. 8 Mateo Carrazana, Allard, and Rhodes off the bench making an impact. 

It was a mistake-ridden game. The heat, humidity, and rain didn’t help that. But the performances improved throughout and it’s clear AIC is stronger this year.

For Babson, this was a game where there were some key work-ons—the scrum, offside penalties, and holding onto the ball. But Head Coach Carrick Pell has them working on a fairly sophisticated attack, and with the talent they have—notably their deep three, Santos pulling the strings, and their triple-tower threat of Muller, Scura, and Adenle—they have the ability to win a lot of rugby games.