If you ever want to know what it's like to play in the forward pack of a rugby team, ask Jane Liles.
Liles, usually a flanker on the Radcliffe rugby club's "B"-side, got a chance to play wing forward during the Black and White's 8-0 victory over Vermont Saturday in Burlington, Vt.
"It was definitely a lot different," Liles said. "I got a little disoriented not knowing where the ball was. You've got your head in a pack of people. I'm used to running around freely."
By virtue of its victory over Vermont, the Black and White qualified for the Eastern Championships next spring. The ruggers are ranked number one in the New England area.
Liles, along with Jenny LeBaron, moved up from the "B"-side because of injuries to several regulars. In their regular positions, Liles and LeBaron were expected to run the ball and score trys. Members of the forward pack, in comparison, are the equivalent of warriors in the trench.
"They did a fine job in their new positions," Co-Captain Cherie Silvera said. "They were instructed that morning on what to do, and they did a good job in support."
Fullback Cheri Curry opened the scoring with a try from Radcliffe's own 10-meter line midway through the first half. Curry was being pursued by the Mountaineer defense. With the hosts gaining on her, she kicked the ball past oncoming defenders. She then outran Vermont to the ball and galloped in for the score.
Eight-man Alexandra Williams then tallied the second Radcliffe try from a 10-meter scrum. She was barely able to reach over the tryline with the ball for the score.
"We weren't at our best," Silvera said, "but we were able to pull it together enough to win."
Radcliffe (7-1 overall) next meets Southern Connecticut Saturday at Soldiers Field. The squad then closes out its fall season the following weekend when it hosts Yale.