HBS Rugby Season Kicking into Gear

Chris Hartnoll, Contributor
Alex Harstrick, Contributor

HBS Rugby is gearing up for another action-packed season.

The HBS Rugby team is gearing up for another barn-storming year. After powering into the finals of Wharton’s Hogfest tournament in September and overpowering local club side Maccabi RFC in October, the team is hard at work teaching the “Yanks” to stop throwing the ball forward and to be polite to the opposition on the field. It’s a busy season: the “fall brawl” MBA tournament in Boston on Halloween, Harvard Yale (away) in November, a tour to London in February, and the MBA world cup in April.

But the club is more than just a place for MBAers to play Rugby. It brings together a broad range of interests.

Richard “No Shoes” Waitumbi (former/future PE Bro and current Chief Social Officer) grew up playing rugby on the plains of Kenya. “We used to play on some muddy fields with no shoes or mouth guards, dodging giraffes and lions left and right. Getting out with the boys on Mignone Field takes me back to those simpler, warmer days.” Richard embraces an open, expansive style of play, occasionally taking his shoes off mid-game to improve his side-step. He is one of two proud Kenyans in the starting 15, alongside Kevin “Butters” Nyamweya.

For Tom “Total Pain” Payne (former U.S. Marine and Chief Recruiting Officer), it’s a much simpler motivation. “I love physical adversity, and this is the best place to get it.” After a standout first season breaking into the MBA rugby circuit, Tom is looking to qualify for the USA Eagles Pro Rugby team.

Aurélien “French Flair” Bellucci (current Harvard PhD student in Chinese literature) loves the travel opportunities on offer with the rugby team. “America is a big place, and rugby has taken me to new places. After playing rugby at the Austin tournament, we raced around downtown Austin on electric scooters dressed in SuperHero outfits. It was great! Can’t say the same about the food. They wouldn’t serve me a Philly cheese steak sandwich with foie gras when we were in Philly.”

Despite a strong recruiting pipeline, the club has been struggling in recent years to fill some key positions. Chris Hartnoll (former Royal Marines Commando and current Co-President) laments HBS’s recruiting policies. “It’s hard enough finding forward specialists, and it’s almost impossible to find someone on campus willing to get stuck in the middle of the scrum. On that front, I don’t know how we’ll survive, but hopefully we’ll be able to borrow some from other clubs.”

But club CFO Alex Harstrick believes these challenges can be overcome. “The strength of the rugby team is the alumni network. We’ve got Ray Dalio, Theodore Roosevelt IV, and Sir Martin Sorrell—they’re more than happy to throw some money our way. I used to hunt terrorists in Iraq—finding and exploiting these assets is easy.”

Chris Hartnoll (MBA ’20), is Co-President of the Rugby Club. Despite his coming from the country that invented English, his teammates struggle to understand him most of the time. A (confused) native Singaporean, he helps define the culture of the club: things like political correctness, gentlemanly behaviour, and copious use of the salutation “mate.”


Alex Harstrick (MBA ’20), is CFO of the Rugby Club. Alex hails from California and is passionate about America, freedom, and his cat Smokey. He never lets his lack of understanding of the rules of rugby get in the way of his playing the game.