Dartmouth Wins its 6th Consecutive Ivy Title
With a hat trick and 27 points from fullback Madison Hughes, Dartmouth downed Brown 32-3 at home, claiming its sixth consecutive Ivy Rugby Championship April 13, 2013 on Brophy Field.
The first half proceeded slowly, as both sides played stingy defense to keep the first twenty minutes scoreless. Brown fullback Colin Schofield broke open the scoring with a penalty kick to put the visiting Bears up 3-0, but Hughes, his Dartmouth counterpart, soon responded by slotting in a penalty of his own to level the score at 3-3. The sophomore fullback followed up by running in an unconverted try for the Big Green, bringing the score to 8-3 at the whistle.
After the break, a booming kick from Dartmouth flyhalf Parker Gilbert pinned Brown deep within its own half - the Big Green soon reclaimed the ball, and prop Matt Robinson '13 offloaded to Hughes for his second try of the day. The fullback slotted the conversion to put Dartmouth up 15-3. Later, flanker Neil Greene broke off a Green maul to tumble past the tryline for another five, with Hughes landing the conversion to bring the score to 25-3.
Led ably by halfbacks Matt Leonard and Zahid Jethani, Brown pounded deep into Green territory in the closing minutes but found themselves repelled by the hosts' aggressive tackling and a series of well-placed kicks. Back in the Bears' turf, Dartmouth lock Dylan Jones thundered through Brown's defense and fell to a tackler just short of the tryline, but not before popping an assist to Madison Hughes to complete the hat trick. Hughes' try and subsequent conversion buried the Bears 32-3, leaving Dartmouth as conference champions, maintaining an undefeated Ivy record for the sixth year running.
Next weekend, the Big Green travels to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD for the first round of the inaugural Varsity Cup, a competition between eight of America's top collegiate rugby programs. The Eastern Superregional will open with a match between the California Golden Bears and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, with the Big Green facing the Midshipmen to complete the doubleheader. The victors of the two matches will take on each other, to be hosted by the higher seed.
Dartmouth and Brown will face off this coming weekend in the Ivy Rugby Conference title match after each won semifinal games this past weekend.
"Our guys played well in a lot of areas," said Dartmouth Head Coach Gavin Hickie. "What you want is the victory, first and foremost and to get into the final, and we did that. But we do have a lot of work on!"
Brown had their game against Penn well in hand, and then, after emptying their bench, almost had the wheels fall off in the last ten minutes. "It was an interesting game," said Head Coach David Laflamme, "Our defense was really good for about 70 minutes, but when we subbed in, we kind of fell apart as a unit."
Brown has a big job ahead, as they hope to unseat Dartmouth for the Ivy Rugby Conference title. The Dartmouth men have won the title each and every year since Harvard beat them in OT in 2007 in tournament play. The last time Brown hoisted the Ivy trophy was 1996.