Brown Defeats Yale to Advance to Ivy Conference Finals

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Yale’s aggression kept the match close and tense for 40 minutes but the Brown Bears dominated the second half and defeated Yale 44-5 in an Ivy Conference playoff to advance to the Ivy Conference finals next Sunday, April 2nd.  Brown will play the winner of the Princeton-Penn match, scheduled for next Friday, March 31st. Brown will depart tomorrow, Sunday, March 26th for a two match tour to Barbados to prepare for next weekend.

Legendary Upset by Brown

The ease with which the Bears dispensed with both URI and PC earlier this season may have given the Bears a bit of overconfidence going into the Yale match. The Bulldogs were clearly the strongest opponent the Bears have faced this spring. Yale began with an organized and hard tackling defense and aggressive running and support. Brown was stymied on offense but was equal on defense, shutting down the Yale attack. In the ninth minute of play, Brown scrum half Joe Paolino made a nice defensive move, blocking a Yale clearing kick deep in the Yale end, with Brown flanker Nkanyiso Nzimande pouncing on the ball to give Brown a 5-0 lead. Yale, clearly wounded, pressed even harder and 13 minutes later tied the match at 5.

With no wind or rain and the temperature around 50 degrees, switching ends at halftime did not advantage either team, but Brown needed to overcome Yale’s pressure and tempo. At the start of the second half Brown was awarded a scrum at the Yale 25. A center break by Connor McDermott was initially stopped but he drove forward to break the gain line and then some. A quick Brown ruck sent the ball to number 10 Alex Ogilvey, who passed to number 8 Jae Kim on the outside and Jae went untouched for a try and a Brown 10-5 lead.    

Yale never gave up but the pace and effort expended by the Bulldogs in the first half seemed to take its toll. Brown wing Peter McHugh kicked a penalty 8 minutes later and increased Brown’s lead to 13-5.

Ogilvy, reading the Yale pressure better, placed a kick behind the backline and McHugh caught the kick on the bounce and sprinted 40 meters for another Brown try at 53 minutes. McHugh’s conversion gave Brown a 20-5 lead. Five minutes later another center burst by McDermott was kept alive with a pass to wing Nick Hoynes who fed McHugh for yet another try and a 25-5 Brown lead.

But McHugh was not done, intercepting a Yale pass and out running the Yale defense for a 60 meter try and conversion. In 16 minutes Pete had scored 22 points and would add a later conversion to score 24 of Brown’s 44 points in the match. With hamstring pulls almost part of Pete’s DNA, this demonstration of speed and durability far exceeded our expectations.

With the result in hand, Brown scored in the 73rd and 81st minutes to end the match. The first was a short run from Connor McDermott after a lineout drive from 5 meters, with McHugh converting, and the second was a short run by lock Graham Rotenberg from a goal line ruck to end the match.

The pressure and intensity of this match was a good test for the Bears and provided coach Laflamme with feedback to further team preparation in Barbados this week.

Brown Squad

  1. Kerim Saraoglu ’20

  2. John Landers’17

  3. Henry Richardson '17

  4. Graham Rotenberg’17

  5. Dakota Fenn’19

  6. Nkanyiso Nzimande’20

  7. Luke Hayhoe’18

  8. Jae Kim’20

  9. Joe Paolino’17

  10. Alexander Ogilvy’20

  11. Peter McHugh’17

  12. Connor McDermott’18

  13. Trevor Anesi’18, replaced at 56 minutes by Michael Manning’17

  14. Nick Hoynes'18

  15. Mike Ball ’18