Rugby looks for vindication

In the fall the Jeffs completed the season a respectable 4-2-1, yet many view the season as a failure.

“The entire reason for our season is the Williams game,” said Woods. “As well as we play before that, we consider our season a failure if we don’t beat Williams.”

The Jeffs compete in the highly competitive New England Football Union (NERFU), and they compete at the Division I level. Amherst is one of the smallest schools playing in NERFU, but that has not stopped the program from meeting success. Other NERFU members include: large state schools-the Universities of Connecticut and Massachusetts; Ivy League powers-Dartmouth College, Brown and Harvard Universities; and military academies-West Point (Army) and Norwich College.

“It has been very difficult to practice so far,” said Brandon Woods ’02. “Since we have been restricted to playing in the Cage, we can’t do many of the drills that are necessary for our success in the coming season.”

Leading the way this spring for the Jeffs are Co-captains Bailey Williams ’01 and James Orraca-Tetteh ’02. Williams was also a captain during the fall season, along with Woods, and he plays back for the Jeffs. Orraca-Tetteh roams the pitch as a forward. Other key members of the Jeffs this spring include forward Evan Scibetta ’02 and back Seth Birnbaum ’02.

The Jeffs start their season off with a difficult match, facing Dartmouth the week after spring break-if the weather cooperates. Dartmouth is a top-10 team on the East Coast, and they will provide a stiff challenge for the Jeffs.

“In the last few years we have been transforming the rugby club,” said Woods. “We have shifted the focus towards the sport itself, not the social aspects of the club, and it is our goal to put together a winning season, and of course to beat Williams. This spring we look to put together a solid season.”