AIC Men’s Rugby dominates UMass, looks for winning season

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Tommy Clark, Staff Writer

 

On the afternoon of Sunday, September 8, the American International College Men’s Rugby team claimed their home turf at Abdow field with their season opener match against UMass.

It only took five minutes in the game to see points on the scoreboard from the Yellow Jackets. The Yellow Jackets led by a huge margin of points by the end of the first half. It was a very impressive amount of 52 points from AIC that had led over UMass that came up empty by the end of the first half.

The Yellow Jackets showed a display of good ball movement to the edge and recognizing the open space in UMass’ defense. The Yellow Jackets defense caused repeated amounts of turnovers against UMass offense. AIC brought their clashing defense every phase they had.

Despite the great offense and defense that AIC displayed for their home crowd, the Yellow Jackets know that there are a lot corrections that need to be made to their system in order to be that championship team they were for three straight years in a row.

Towards the second half of the game AIC continued to have the ball in their hands the majority of the game, the back line for the Yellow Jackets took control of the momentum of the game with good pace onto the ball and support.

Junior Michi Magistrali put on an outstanding scoring performance for the Yellow Jackets with four tries and 11 for 15 on his kicking conversions

“We looked to stretch the ball wide a lot, are defense set the tone early and we got the job done,” Magistrali said.

Former USA Rugby All-American Senior Jihad Khabir that played flyhalf for the Yellow Jackets on Sunday had secured tries for his team as well. Khabir set up Magistrali for three of his tries and also assisted Senior Matty Jones for one of two of his tries.

For the rest of the game the AIC Yellow Jackets put their game on cruise control as Junior Nic Franklyn captured two of his tries in the second half followed by sophomores Darrin Fernandez and Cal Harrington scoring one try each.

Head Coach Rob Guiry said, “It was the first game we actually moved the ball wide creating many scoring opportunities, and we were good enough to capitalize on almost all of them.”

He added, “Our strong defense was a huge factor for our win too, causing multiple turnovers, so we were able to play with the ball in hands most of the game.”

Guiry put younger men into the game towards the end to get them some playing time and the experience.

With an amount of 12 recruits that came this year for the Men’s Rugby program, Guiry looks to expand the depth and the growth of the Yellow Jackets.

Senior Matty Jones when asked how the AIC Men’s Rugby season is going to be this year, “We need our young guys to step up, we had a good game Sunday but that doesn’t mean anything, there’s going to be teams that want to take us off the top.”

The Yellow Jackets look to face New England College for their away game, it is also New College Homecoming game.

This should be a good matchup as they play their first game of two with New England College as the AIC team looks to chase their fourth straight championship in a row.

Attentions are rising for this young AIC Men’s Rugby squad with 11 seniors left. Look to see if the Yellow Jackets can capture another championship.