Jean DePlacido column: Robinson, BC Rugby excited for conference finals

Griffin Bouchard and Bruins legend Rick Middleton at the recent 3-on-3 charity hockey tournament that raised money for Children's Hospital. Courtesy photo

Connor Robinson and his Boston College rugby team are in the Liberty Conference finals against Northeastern this weekend. The game is at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Fairfield University.

The former St. John’s Prep football and rugby player has been a big factor in his team’s success. The Eagles come into the finals with a 7-1 record with the only loss to Northeastern earlier by a try right at the end of the game. BC was picked as a wild card team for the playoffs. The good part was they were in, but the bad part was having to take on the No. 1 seed Syracuse on the road last weekend when BC pulled off the upset.

Robinson has been moved from the prop position to hooker this year. He is still in the front where he likes to be and came into the playoffs with 17 tries. He added two more in the huge 39-10 upset at Syracuse against a previously unbeaten team that had not allowed more than two tries per match until giving up six to BC, including two more by Robinson.

“A lot of my tries have been from the five yard line,” said the economics major with a minor in accounting. “It’s a whole team effort. Now that I’m a hooker I throw the ball in on wide outs. Our hooker graduated last year so they switched me, and I love it. Hooker is a high pressure position in some situations, but you’re right in the thick of things, always grinding and making tackles.”

In rugby the hooker plays in the middle of the front row and is a key position. Robinson utilizes strength and technique effectively.

He will head for a semester in England soon to attend Lancaster University, and has already talked to the rugby coach.

“I’m excited about traveling abroad, and contacted their coach about playing,” said Robinson. “He said that wouldn’t be a problem. They’ve got two teams, and I saw some film to try to learn all the differences before getting over there. It’s a pretty competitive program, and a different style rugby than we’re used to here. I’m really looking forward to it. I try to watch some of their games on YouTube, and I’ve heard they play at a high level. I’m looking forward to the challenge; it should be a lot of fun.”

Robinson stays in top shape by working out with his rugby club Mystic River as well as his BC teammates. He is looking into internships for next summer in preparation for a career in financial services.

Robinson is also psyched about a trip to play at Notre Dame. He said there is a new rugby field there.

“We’ll fly out on Thursday, play on Friday night, and watch the football game on the 23rd,” he said. “I went out there once my freshman year to visit a close friend. It will be good to watch my old football teammate Jake Burt and the rest of the guys play. It’s such a great atmosphere, I’m really looking forward to it.”

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Next stop Sacramento, California for the NCAA Division 2 Nationals for both the Stonehill College women and men’s cross country teams. The men were third at the East Regional 10K Meet and received an automatic bid while the women won their second straight East championship and the program’s 16th.

The nationals will take place on the 23rd of this month at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex. Three Peabody runners performed well at the East Regional. Sophia Anderle placed 19th in 23:17 in the 6K race while sophomore Shane Braz was 24th overall and the fourth Skyhawk runner in 32:32.

Assumption College freshman Claudio Rocha also had an excellent race, finishing in 32:30 for 22nd place.

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Griffin Bouchard has done it again. The Hamilton-Wenham junior raised over $7,000 for the Boston Children’s Hospital concussion research/brain trauma center with his 3-on-3 hockey tournament on Veterans Day at the Essex Sports Center. Bouchard, who partners with the NHL Alumni, had 20 teams take part. Bruins Hall of Famer Rick “Nifty” Middleton was there along with Todd Angilly, who sang the National Anthem and Blades the Boston Bruins Bear.

Bouchard, who plays hockey for New Hampshire Avalanche, has been fundraising for the past six years and has raised over $35,000. Because he loves playing in 3-on-3 tournaments he decided this would be a fun thing to do and good way to raise money for Children’s Hospital.

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You can contact Jean DePlacido at JMDeplacido@aol.com.

 

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