Rugby practices in March have a determination about them that is apt to be lacking in the practices in October. The players are bigger, the pace is harder, and the prospect of a spring vacation playing rugby in Bermuda is enticing.
The fall season is, for the Rugby Club, what the Grapefruit League is for the Red Sox. The spring season features a schedule of 11 games instead of three, competition for the Eastern Rugby League title, and many energetic football players.
In 1954, Princeton walked off with the league title and shared Bermuda's Intercollegiate Cup with Dartmouth. This year the Crimson intends to take over. Club President and fall Captain Rob Albert has a fast and heavy squad and is optimistic about the team's chances. "I am confident that the club will run through an undefeated season," he said last night.
Three of the main reasons for Albert's confidence come from South Africa. Lionel Bryer, Martin Lindsay, and John Chalsty, all graduate students with wide first-class match experience, should do much to improve a squad largely composed of football players trying rugger for the first time.
Medical student Bryer has played for the Oxford University Greyhounds; Business student Lindsay played for the University of Cape Town; and Chalsty represented Transvaal, runners-up last year in the South African inter-provincial championships.
Among the football players who feel they need spring exercise are veteran rugger forwards Bill Frate, Ted Kennedy, Art Tickner, and Jan Meyer, Terry Turner and Bob Richter are other returning members of last year's scrum. The new candidates included by Albert in his probable lineup are Orville Tice, Bill Melgs, Ken Culbert, and Bob Wynne.
Every one of the except Richter, Frate, and Culbert will be returning next season, and should assure the squad of another excellent set of forwards in 1956. The group includes two guards, an end, a center, and a tackle from the football squad, as well as the heavy and light heavyweight varsity wrestlers.
The outlook for the backs, while bright this year, looks poor for next fall. Six of the eight possible starters named by Albert are seniors. Veteran Nat Cooke and quarterback Jerry Marsh are a likely half-back combination, with the centers coming from veteran Buzzy Smith and varsity ends Joe Ross and Bob Cochran. Candidates for the wing positions are Phil Pereira and Argentinian freshman Mike Reynal. Albert will probably play fullback.
The club will be flying down to Bermuda on April 1 with a squad of 18 men, and have only one game before then. It will open the season in Cambridge on March 26, against the experienced New York Rugby Club.