Men’s Rugby: Ivy Champions Once Again

By Stuart Allan

Ever since its 1951 inception, the Dartmouth Rugby Football club has enjoyed a strong winning tradition, and this year is no exception. Indeed, Dartmouth’s first fifteen (1st XV) went undefeated this Ivy League season, giving the Indians (who have won the last 8 of 11 Ivy League Cup Championship titles) yet another trophy to add to their impressive collection.

This past weekend the DRFC concluded its Ivy Season by roundly defeating Harvard in a 31-0 game. Other highlights of the season include a 107-5 victory over the Brown Bears during the DRFC’s 60th reunion and a brilliant 58-0 defeat of the recently revamped Columbia team.

Given the DRFC’s consistent domination of the Ivy League, the strong results over so many years are undoubtedly a source of great intrigue. Players, coaches, and alumni alike attribute the club’s success to its two foundations: strong coaching and team unity.

Alexander Magleby (’00), known familiarly as Mags, is a one-of-a-kind coach.  A former captain of the American national rugby sevens team, The Eagles, as well as their sometime coach, Mags started coaching at Dartmouth in 2002; since that time the Indians have won seven Ivy League titles, including the last four consecutively.

Physically, Dartmouth’s rugby team is far from the largest on the pitch, but the Indians make up for their lack of stature by consistently bringing the most preparation and focus into their games. According to co-captain Chris Downer, “Mags not only does a tremendous job finding weaknesses in our opponents’ game, but he’s also able to create a game plan that allows us to exploit these weaknesses.” Tactics and strategy, however, are only one part of a Dartmouth rugger’s mental preparedness- the DRFC’s culture also plays an important role.

All who are affiliated with the squad refer to a remarkable camaraderie among members of the DRFC, players and coaches alike. This is a truly tight-knit group in which players are constantly encouraged by their teammates and inspire each other to reach new heights. This culture is perhaps a function of rugby’s status as a club sport, which consequently drives the team to rely on student leaders. Student ownership of the DRFC pulls players into the team’s culture and tradition. The élan of the DRFC helps ensure that the traditions, including that of winning, continue; every DRFC player buys into this mindset as he becomes part of the team. 

It is difficult to quantify the reasons for the Dartmouth Rugby Football Club’s continual success. Indeed much of the team’s continually perpetuated legacy of success can be attributed to tactful coaching and strong team unity. 

With yet another undefeated Ivy League season recently concluded, the DRFC will now change gears in preparation for the newly constructed spring Premier League season, in which the club will be met with a significantly higher level of competition, facing teams including Army, Navy, and Penn State.