Fall 2008

The Brown men's rugby team, under the capable field leadership of co-captains Nick Stoker '09 and Brendan Warner '09, enjoyed the following highlights in 2008:

  • Dave Laflamme took the helm of the day-to-day coaching
  • Team Picture
  • Eddie O'Sullivan, former Irish National Coach, ran pre-season training
  • 5-0 conference record; fourth-place in New England Second Division
  • First XV goes 6-4-1 overall, Second XV goes 7-1.

  • We are competitive in the Second Division and were able to start very quickly this fall thanks in large part to Eddie O'Sullivan. Eddie's extraordinary coaching talent led to improvement in the players' individual skills and in our game preparation.

    In the fall of 2007 Brown lost to Coast Guard and Bentley on successive weekends. This fall we defeated them both and followed up those victories with wins over Providence College, Boston University, and then a strong University of Rhode Island squad that also had defeated brown the previous year

    With such a good conference record, Brown was seeded in the top four in New England, defeating Saint Michael's College in the first round of the New England playoffs. With a 6-1-1 record entering the New England Final Four, the team boarded the bus for Middlebury, Vermont where the playoffs were held.

    Our first match was against a very big athletic University of Main, Orono squad. Brown had been very fortunate to play all of its matches in excellent field conditions, but not for this match. A muddy field and a strong wind were new to the Bears. Brown did not realize the urgency of playing with a strong wind in the first half. Coach Jay Fluck often referred to these conditions as a "20 point wind." If the team with the wind does not score 20 points, it will not be enough. Not only did Brown not score enough, but we also gave up two tries against the wind for a 14-3 deficit. Although the team came back to 14-10 and 21-15, the Bears were never in this match, losing 30-15.

    The second day was a rematch with Coast Guard, under the same muddy conditions and perfect for Coast Guard's smash mouth rugby. Brown was unable to move the ball wide to use its outside speed and skills, losing 12-7. Brown had found ways to win either from in front or behind in conference matches. However, injuries, lack of depth and an inability to rise to the occasion had caused two tough losses.

    In spite of the result, the Middlebury weekend had only determined the first through fourth place in New England. Brown would compete in the Northeast Territorial playoffs against Met New York and Upstate New York. The two top teams after two weeks of competition would qualify for the National Final 16 in the spring of 2009. Brown traveled to Connecticut for a first round match at Fairfield University. Brown lost 26-21. Just about everything imaginable went wrong with several key players injured, and two others taken off during the match. Even so, Brown had several late match opportunities to win but again could not break the negative momentum of the late season.

    In the end, Brown was too thin and too banged up to make much of an impact at the national level but did have a good run in their conference. Looking back, this team made most of its early season and there was significant improvement in most aspects of play.