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Bonnies Happy with Start

Tuesday Sep 29, 2009 in Amateur Competitions Division I Colleges

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(St. Bonaventure shows their hard-running, hard-defense, quick-poaching style against Binghamton.)

By Alex Goff

New to DI college rugby in New York State, St. Bonaventure has already established itself as a team to be concerned about,

A convincing 41-5 defeat of Binghamton a week after surprising Buffalo puts them at 2-0, and thinking big


" We got into our patterns more," said Bonnies head coach Clarence Picard. "I was happy with our attack, our defense was very strong and we managed to play several phases of good, strong defense, so I was pleased about that."

On the negative side, Picard is still concerned about a slew of penalties his team is giving up - to the point of being down two players due to concurrent yellow cards.

"We kept them out of in-goal for five or six minutes when we were down two guys," Picard said. "That sort of pressure is good for us."

Bonnies is led in part by prop JT Sheehan, who has rededicated himself to his fitness and taken the team along with him, and a supeiror set of loose forwards including No. 8 Ben Atkinson, Nick Maurer and Chris Schott.

Ben's brother Will helps solidify a good midfield.

"Making the jump from DII to DI I talked with as many DI coaches as I could about what it would take," said Picard. "The two things they said were most different were the level of fitness and the physicality. We're hitting a lot more in practice, and that has helped us to prepare to play these tough matches. Last season we didn't see much competition in the regular season. This year we already have. We played Kutztown early on [and lost big] and from there the guys saw what level we needed to get to."

That comes from keeping the level of intensity high, the coach said.

"The guys have taken it opon themselves to do morning fitness sessions," added Picard. "And everyone is working within the team. The forwards have been playing well, and the backs are always involved. They are running their support play well, and when they don't see a lot of ball, they have stayed active by getting involved in the kick-and-chase, defense and support play."

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