After shutting out Tufts and the University of Maine, Orono (UMO) in the past two weeks, the women’s rugby team improved its record to 3-0.

 The team has made a few strategic changes that have help them secure the strong start. Head Coach MaryBeth Mathews said the team has introduced a new attack pattern, reinforced understanding of the laws of the game, and moved a few players into new positions to fill gaps and take advantage of strengths.

 “We are trying a new style of play which we call flow, which allows us to switch the field quickly, and allows people to catch and run with the ball at pace while attacking the other team’s weak side,” said Randi London ’15, “This helps to take our opponent off-guard and allows us to break the line.”

The new strategy truly took shape on September 20, when the team beat Tufts 54-0 in a rematch of last year’s New England Small College Rugby Conference final. Bowdoin’s B team beat Tufts 27-5 in that game.

Last Saturday the team earned its third consecutive victory by thrashing UMO 70-0. Bowdoin’s B team defeated UMO 17-10 the same day.

The team attributes some of its early season success to its mastery of the sport’s cerebral aspects.

“We teach that rugby is a tactical game that requires experience, anticipation and good decision-making in order to utilize individual and collective skill sets,” said Mathews.  “When a player has the ball, we tell her to run hard and with confidence and attack the gaps, with support coming from behind her.”

What has really worked well for the team, however, has been its pace on the wings.
“We’re able to get the ball out wide quickly and cleanly due to some great passing, and from there it is a simple two-on-one,” said London. 

“Our forward pack has been doing a great job at getting low and driving the other team off the ball in both rucks and scrums, as well as supporting the back line.”

According to London, the team is currently working on aspects of their game they need to tighten up, such as catching, passing and tackling.

“When we start playing more skilled and bigger teams, having more solid fundamentals will allow us to focus on other aspects of the game such as strategy,” said London.
The team looks to continue its undefeated streak at Bates on Sunday.