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The only Northeast DI game slated for this past weekend was Mystic River taking on the Boston Irish Wolfhounds in Malden, Mass. The Mystics hammered the Wolfhounds 63-0 in route to their first conference victory of the season.
After narrowly losing to NYAC in the USA Rugby DI semifinals last spring, and dismantling the Wolfhounds to begin the 2015 campaign, the Mystics are demonstrating their ability to compete at the highest level on the east coast. Mystic River should make the jump to the ARP sooner rather than later. However, with the combined structure of the ARP and USA Rugby DI, the Mystics are essentially playing against ARP competition this season.
“We are looking to try to make it work,” Mystic River head coach Josh Smith said of playing in the ARP. “Definitively we want to be there. We want to play the best teams. It is just financially, there are other things we need to pay for and if with an expensive trip to Life that we are going to need to budget it is something we are going to have to sort.”
Mystic River had several multiple try scorers, including a pair from Alatasi Tupou. Tupou, who is the Samoan scrumhalf on the HSBC 7s World Series, played with the Malden side that finished third at USA Rugby Club 7s Nationals, and has stuck around to give 15s a go with the squad.
“He’s played 15s with the Samoan side…His skills are great. He has great field vision. His foot is outstanding. It is kind of what we needed. We struggled a little bit last year in the kicking game. But just as far a playmaker in the midfield, he’s dynamic whether it’s 7s or 15’s,” Smith said of Tupou.
Former Dartmouth football cornerback and rugby center, Steve Dazzo also added a pair of tries on the day. In addition, scrumhalf Gabe Perrone orchestrated the potent Mystics attack.
“He had an outstanding day just with facilitating the offense,” Smith said of Perrone. “Getting us quick ball, marshaling the forwards and just when we had good go forward ball he did a good job getting it out quick and getting our attack going downhill.”
Smith also praised the play of tight head prop Chris O’Donnell. One of the elder statesmen of the team, O’Donnell came into this season in great shape and its paying dividends.
“This is the best match I have seen out of him,” Smith indicated of O’Donnell. “He took care of himself in the offseason and it showed. He was electric yesterday. Just making big plays and doing the dirty work.”