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At the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC) last weekend, the Pete Dawkins Trophy was presented to newly crowned champion, Lindenwood, by General H.R. McMaster, former National Security Advisor in the current administration.
McMaster was ideally suited to give the award as he was a rugger at West Point, graduating in the Class of 1984. He has always considered rugby an excellent training for the military. Read his opinions in a fine article by Martin Pengelly, The Guardian, at
Dawkins was also a West Point graduate from the Class of 1958 when he won the Heisman Trophy as the country’s outstanding college football player that year. (NB. Rugby began at West Point in autumn 1961).
Dawkins won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, where he enrolled at Brasenose College, coincidentally, the same one as William Webb Ellis, reputedly, the schoolboy at Rugby School who picked the ball up and ran with it.
Dawkins began playing for his college, but his try scoring on the wing, and his American style smash tackling, soon brought him to the attention of the Captain of Oxford RFC. Dawkins was promoted to the Greyhounds, the Oxford second VX, and, after enjoying games with multiple tries, he advanced on the wing to the first XV.
He often carried an American football to practice, demonstrating the long pass. When Oxford, realized Dawkins could also throw the oval rugby ball a similar distance, it installed a surprise play for the Varsity Match against historical rival Cambridge in December 1958. In the second period, Oxford unleased the “torpedo” throw from winger Dawkins that caught the Cantabs by surprise. It’s that unique throw in that shaped the creation of the bronze Pete Dawkins Trophy.
General McMaster was the guest of United World Sports CEO Jon Prusmack (see photo) during the two-day CRC event. Each time Army played, he descended from the owner's suite to the playing field, cheering on his alma mater in the sport of rugby he played at West Point.