Rugby – a hooligan’s game, played by gentlemen

The Hog slowly raised his head and surveyed the field with my bloodshot eyes. All did not seem well. He could see several other hogs lying on the ground, unresponsive, and others looked heavily dazed. The few who were still standing struggled for words. He had heard rugby was a rough sport, but this was beyond his wildest expectations. Somehow in this brutal game there had been no winners. In fact, for the first time all season, the mighty Wharton Wharthogs had ended the day without scoring. For a seventeenth consecutive year, Pub Golf remained undefeated.

Wharton Rugby Football Club’s first day of the pool play at the MBA Rugby World Cup in Danville, VA Saturday, April 13th, 2019. Photos by David Duncan Photography

Having learned some valuable lessons that night, the Hogs embarked on a Spring Tour back to their natural habitat – the plains of South Africa – where shark diving, a safari, and some lackluster off-field performances overshadowed a surprisingly competitive game of rugby. Next year will likely see them spread the gospel of US rugby deep into Argentina, where their bi-annual match against a local prison team makes “The Longest Yard” look like flag flootball.

Reinvigorated by their nostalgic pilgrimage to the savannah, the Hogs extended their long US winning streak by collecting both North American MBA trophies in Philly and Ausin dominant fashion. For the second year running, one team stood between the Wharthogs and MBA World Cup glory at Duke. While LBS narrowly came out on top in a tough final, the fact that most of them had played rugby before appeared to give them a slight edge.

The next priority is maintaining their ironclad grip on Hogfest; Wharton’s own MBA rugby tournament held on September 28th in Philly. Even more challenging than retaining the title is convincing HBS to find 15 blokes who can tolerate each other’s company long enough to travel together to Philadelphia. Given they couldn’t field a full team at the World Cup last year, we thought we would boost their recruiting efforts by setting aside a keg of O’Douls for them at Bonner’s this year. First round is on us, boys.

If you want to help break the World Cup drought, or if you just need a reason to drink late on Monday and Tuesday nights without judgement, join the Wharton Men’s Rugby Club. No rugby experience is required (in fact if you want to fit in, less experience is better). Open training sessions will be held for several weeks for those wanting to try it out. Alternatively, if you want to join a team who actually won at the MBA World Cup, join the Wilderbeests – the Women’s Rugby Club. For details, contact cleckie@wharton.upenn.edu, or speak to anyone you see on campus wearing the iconic Hog’s hat.

About Campbell Leckie, WG'20

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