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Every club in America loses players from season to season. But it’s hard to imagine any team being hit as hard as the Boston Irish Wolfhounds were since reaching a national semifinal in the spring.

“We lost 26 from the first-team roster due to retirements, injuries, relocation and that stuff, so we have a tremendous amount of opportunity for the younger players to pick and claim a position,” BIWRFC coach David Gonzales said.

That’s an opportunistic outlook, seeing 26 defections as ‘opportunity’ instead of catastrophe.

Gonzales says most of the guys who are replacing their predecessors were already DII Wolfhounds. Saturday, the new-look Wolfhounds scrimmaged cross-town rival Mystic River, losing 22-17. Gonzales said the loss wasn’t discouraging.

“It’s not about that. It’s about playing rugby and performing and getting things right at this time of the year, so in terms of the actual outcome goal, performance with the players you’ve got is what we’re looking for.”

This Saturday the Wolfhounds open league play against Amoskeag, and the result does count.  

“This weekend again we’ll be looking to improve upon last week’s performance,” said Gonzales. “We’re looking for the players to be playing more game time, and we’ll be looking to be putting our systems into place. It will be competitive. We will be expecting more from the team.”

With so much turnover, can the Wolfhounds remain competitive in DI?

“Absolutely. Yes,” said Gonzales. “We’ve put new training structures in place. We’ve changed our training format. We’ve also got to concentrate on the club, which means DI, DII, old boys, so we’ve come up with a format that will train the club as a whole…the title may or not be the be all and end all.”