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Defending champions University College Dublin - Smurfit opened their account at the MBA/Graduate Schools World Championships with a 33-5 defeat of hosts Duke University - Fuqua.
Smurfit has won the championship the last nine times. For much of the contest, Duke maintained long periods of possessions and although their pack was significantly larger, Smurfit’s defense never buckled and Duke had little to show for their efforts.
The two teams' playing styles were most evident in set piece, where Smurfit won nearly every lineout with perfectly timed pods, while Duke dominated the scrum.
As the game wore on though, the experience and ball handling skills of the Irish won out and the men from Smurfit ran in several tries from well-worked backline moves.
In the end, the Blue Devils held their heads high for a respectable performance against a team of players hailing from a country where rugby is fully embraced, with a last minute try as a little sweetener. But all eyes are on Smurfit now as they chase down their 10th title record.