By Seamus Hanley ‘24

On Saturday, April 13, the Brother Rice rugby team opened their season in an eventful game against the Chicago Lions Rugby Club. For a lot of the players on the team, it would be their first time playing in a varsity rugby regular season game.

Junior Cian Desmond said, “It was my first varsity start, and I was a little nervous. Still, I couldn’t wait for the first kickoff.”

The game went back and forth quickly, and the Crusaders went up 7-0 early with a try from yours truly, senior Seamus Hanley, and a made conversion by senior Robbie Rutledge.

The overall game was a defensive showdown. After a turnover by the Lions, the Crusaders took the ball in transition and senior Matt Vucko scored a second try to go up 12-0.

Vucko said, “It was awesome to score in my first game. I felt confident that we were going to win.”

The Lions scored once right before the half, cutting the score to 12-7 at halftime. Little did we know, the Lions would come out swinging in the second half.

In the first 15 minutes of the second half, the Lions scored two tries and went up 19-12.

Senior Colin Welniak said, “I thought all hope was gone, but in the last few minutes of the game, I felt a spark.”

Brother Rice was marching down the field. With about 15 yards and no time left to go, I took the ball again and ran in for my second try of the game, tying it up 19-19 at the final whistle.

Although we did not win, it was a good start to the season as we hope for more success down the line.