Dartmouth College’s rugby program has a reputation for begin skilled, smart, but not always the most physically imposing.
But this year’s Dartmouth 7s team has combined smart, speedy, skilled, and big, with the help of a few football players.
“We had a few weeks starting in May and we have a team that really believes in itself,” said Dartmouth’s Nick Downer, one of the more longtime rugby players. “We have more of a sense of what we need to do in certain situations. The Dartmouth program has definitely grown in the four years I’ve been with the team. We have guys who come to Dartmouth with rugby experience, and we have a few football players who came out this spring and the success we’ve had on the field is an attractive option for them.”
Tanner Scott is one of those, a former wide receiver (honorable mention All-Ivy) for Dartmouth football, Scott has embraced rugby.
“It’s nothing like football where you play a snap, rest, play a snap, rest,” said Scott. “But 7s I guess is more like it. In 15s you’re more grinding it out, and 7s is more open. There’s a playmaking opportunity anytime you touch the ball which is similar to football. What I like is it’s more of a team game when you have that opportunity.”
Scott said the team has been working on getting better every game, and he also points out that he was lucky when he chose to try rugby, in that he encountered Alex Magleby as his coach.
“The best coach in the country, no disrespect to any other coach,” Scott said. “He’s a Dartmouth guy. He knows what it’s like to be a Dartmouth student. He understand also what the football guys go through and he’s been really helpful to the football guys making the transition and he’s spent one-on-one time with us.
“Playing rugby, and playing in this tournament [at the USA 7s CRC in PPL Park] has been a one-of-a-kind experience.”