Following the 2020 season that was cut short after just 10 practice days, the 2021 season was a giant question mark. Through some hard work from the Coaching staff, Connecticut Rugby and the Athletic Director, the season was permitted to kickoff at the beginning of April, though it was set to only include only single-school opponents in state and a number of rugby law modifications, but a season nonetheless. With no contests and only a handful of practices in 2020 the coaching staff felt it would be very difficult to name captains, and while small groups of players did find ways to stay active in the offseason. It was not until a couple weeks into the season the the first Captain was named - Dylan Maloney. Not long after Kacper Grabowski was named the second Captain of the year, an easy choice based on his outrageous work-ethic from the first day of practice. With leaders at the helm, the program shifted back into gear. The Freshman/sophomore team found success under Coaches Everett, Brown, and Doyle, while learning and growing, and players would earn their way to the D2 side. The D2 team was also successful, and under Coaches Swan, Gibbs and Laczkowski players from every grade learned the game, got good playing time and continued to grow a love for the sport. On the D1 side, Coaches Fina and Fox, along with the support of all the coaches, were able to polish up the play and Coach Offerdahl as he did all season worked the fitness mentally and physically. The D1 side was able to find some great success against Ridgefield, Fairfield Prep and Simsbury, outscoring their opponents 165-32. As most good sides are, the D1 side was tested however and lost to a strong Staples side 5-10 early on in the season. With the whole program following the rules and guidelines to the t, and the world opening up a bit more, it was at this point the the request was made for the chance to play our rival Xavier High School and for the chance to travel to the Boys High School Rugby National Championships. While Nationals was denied, the Xavier game was approved and after a week of tough preparations, Greenwich pulled off a 28-3 win at SUNY Maritime in a monsoon. It was the next week that would prove to be a turning point in the season. As the boys geared up for what was set to be the last game of the season, a rematch against Staples, Coach Fina was told that an appeal had been made to the Superintendent to revisit the Nationals trip. While the team was battling injuries and a stomach bug, they fell to Staples again this time 22-12. However, Nationals was approved. So for two weeks the selected 28 players trained for their last dance. A handful of players were asked to stick around and practice and these practice squad players worked the nationals team to another level. Off the field the booster club was working furiously to plan a nationals trip which normally takes about three months in less than three weeks. All at once things cam together and the team was in Kansas City Missouri. The first goal was to win the ever-elusive first match, but the ball didn’t quite bounce our way and the boys fell to St. Ignatius 7-10. St. Ignatius would end up losing the championship match by only four points, despite our cheering in their corner. After pulling off two more defensive wins, Greenwich brought home 5th place. More impressively perhaps is that the Cardinals allowed a total of only 23 points to be scored on them in three matches. A true team effort, the squad at nationals beautifully represented every player in our program, the Coaching Staff, parents, school and community. The boys were complimented for their on field play and more importantly the way they carried themselves off the field, by opponents, referees, the hotel staff and even the bus driver. After the last year that the world has been through, this season, and specifically the players this year used rugby to turn things around. What the players were able to do this year will undoubtedly push the program to new levels.
Interested in playing this spring with GHS Rugby, contact Coach Fina at: email@example.com