Wolfhounds Fall 2017 Season Preview
The new-look Wolfhounds squad will take part the New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU) D2 competition this fall, with the ambition to compete in a New England and National championship following three seasons in the American Rugby Premiership (ARP). With a new division, new coach, and several new recruits the Wolfhounds are getting stuck into pre-season training and excited to start the fall season on September 9th.
The Hounds had a tough spring season, with injuries and retirements straining player numbers. Wolfhounds suffered losses to ARP teams New York Athletic Club and Mystic River and dropped a tightly contested match to D2 rivals Worcester. The season ended on a bright note, however, as Hounds took down visiting D2 side White Plains 98-5 and beat Amoskeag and Newport while playing great open rugby on the way to a NERFU championship in Newport, the side’s 4th consecutive championship win at the May tournament.
All season the Hounds were led from the front by captain Paul Taylor and center Danny Collins, with Jay Kolovson emerging as a solid contributor and a great first season from Eduard Guitton.
The hounds entered two sides in every tournament of the NERFU series, including a 2nd side in the social division. The 1st side had a somewhat disappointing season, losing every tournament final to Mystic River including an especially heartbreaking last-second loss in Saratoga, but finished a solid second while blooding some new players. College players Billy Coughlin of Holy Cross and Lowell Haska of Northeastern made especially strong contributions, but both sides saw great work from college players who we hope to see again in the XVs side once they graduate.
Other players entered into the Mad River and Acton 10s social tournaments, with a ragtag bunch of new and old hounds coming 2nd at Acton.
Thanks to Tadgh Leader of @RugbyconsultingUSA for the great coaching this summer.
With several returning players skills and fitness fresh from Summer 7s, the Wolfhounds have thrown themselves into pre-season focused on working towards a national championship, with the 1st side entered in Division 2 for the first time. Practices every Tuesday and Thursday night at BC High have seen an emphasis on fitness and physicality to play an up-tempo, attractive game featuring fast ball on offense and an aggressive, attacking defense.
A new coaching staff has overseen pre-season, featuring Wolfhounds stalwart Peter “Stretch” Lennon as forwards coach and new backs coach Esterhuizen. South African born Esterhuizen has an accomplished rugby CV, including high level school and club play in South Africa, senior club level coaching, and starting a successful college club at Tarleton State University in Texas. He recently moved to Massachusetts to continue his work as a pastor and will bring new drills and fresh perspective to the Hounds. Fergal Hehir will continue to provide overall direction as Director of Rugby.
The Wolfhounds will once again be led by the open-side Paul Taylor as Captain, with on-field leadership expected from hard hitting backrower Sean Richards, rampaging prop Sean Moran, wily scrum-half Sam Grant, and speedy wing Mark “Danger-man” Kavanagh. The club is also excited to welcome several new faces, with a strong contingent of recently graduated college players and recent arrivals from overseas.
The hounds have a 9 game fall season against New England D2 opponents, with playoffs in the Spring. The season kicks off September 9th at 1 pm with the Wolfhounds welcoming Portland Rugby Club to the Irish Cultural Center in Canton, the “spiritual home of New England rugby”.
Fall 2017 Schedule
September 9 – Portland
September 16 – @Hartford
September 23 – Amoskeag
September 30 – @Boston
October 14 – @Worcester
October 21 – @Newport
October 28 – Mystic
November 4 – Albany
November 11 – @South Shore
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