Princeton played its best rugby of the fall to upset a powerful, well coached, and well organized Brown team.
On a beautiful fall day, Brown arrived at West Windsor as strong favorites. Princeton hadn’t beaten Brown since the Ivy playoffs in 2012, and, with only one Ivy loss all season against Dartmouth, Brown was riding a streak of dominant victories against all the other Ivy teams.
Brown started fast. Its first try came in the very first minute of the match and was scored by fullback Mike Ball. Brown secured the ball at the restart and spent the next 15 minutes pounding the Princeton try line. Brown wing Nick Hoynes scored from a scrum on the Princeton 5-meter line, giving Brown the 10-0 advantage.
Princeton Captain Adrian Odunayo rallied the team after the second Brown score with a short but powerful speech. Refocused, the team walked back to the half way line for the restart kick. At the ensuing kick-off, Princeton secured possession and marched the ball down the field to score a converted try under the Brown posts. Princeton continued its fight back at the next restart. 30 minutes into the match, the Tigers took the lead with a forwards try which was then converted by Kwame Amaning to make it 14-10.
Brown regained the lead following an impressive line break by their #8 who broke through to score. With little time left in the first half, Princeton came right back and scored a well worked team try out wide to take the half-time lead of 19-15.
Princeton came out in a determined mood to begin the second half. After a sustained period of attack by Princeton in the Brown red zone, the Bears were forced to give away a penalty. Amaning stepped up and made the kick extending Princeton’s lead to 22-15.
When the game restarted Princeton continued to build its rhythm. The Tigers found their flow and scored two more well-worked tries extending their lead to 32-15.
Brown, as always, responded well and put greater pressure on Princeton’s attack. Leading the Brown defense, fly half freshman Alex Ogilvy, a top rugby recruit from the Merchiston Castle School in Scotland. intercepted a wide Princeton pass and raced 60 meters for a try to bring the score to 32-20.
There was time for Princeton to mount a final attack. After concerted team pressure, the Tigers found a seam to score the last try of the day. The conversion attempt went slightly wide and the game finished with a 37-20 Princeton win.
Princeton had to work hard throughout the match on defense. The Tigers showed great commitment by slowing down Brown’s many strong runners including their highly talented All Ivy Select Hooker John Landers, and Brown freshman Flanker Nkanyiso Nzimande from South Africa.
Princeton scored 6 tries overall and made two conversions and one penalty kick. Scorers included a mix of backs and forwards: Mark Goldstein, Adrian Odunayo, Billy Haynes, Jack Kilgallon and two by Will Yoon. Amaning kicked both our successful conversions as well as the penalty kick.
Princeton’s A-side Man of the Match was fullback and senior Lucas Mazzotti, selected for his all-round courageous defense and strong counter-attack runs.
Brown won the B-side match 24-28, played with 10-a-side due to the limited number of available Princeton players. It was a hard contest and the Tigers were trailing 12-21 at the break. The second half was highly competitive but Brown had the last word scoring the final winning try. Princeton’s B-side Man of the Match was freshman Alex Rogers.
Princeton hosted the Brown team to pizzas following the match. Great thanks to all the Brown players and coaches for the warm post-match camaraderie. We wish Brown all the best for the remainder of the season.
Thank you to Tom Sullivan for refereeing both our A and B matches.
The Princeton win moves the Tigers above the University of Pennsylvania to finish the Ivy League in 4th position. Princeton will now progress to the Ivy Final 4 spring playoffs where the winner will earn the Ivy Rugby seed to the USA D1AA playoffs.