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What they were thinking

What they were thinking: Local rugby

Joseph Shurmatis, 28, of the Mystic River Rugby Club, shakes off a headlock to advance the ball against Middlesex at Pine Banks Park in Malden, April 7, 2012.

Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Joseph Shurmatis, 28, of the Mystic River Rugby Club, shakes off a headlock to advance the ball against Middlesex at Pine Banks Park in Malden, April 7, 2012.

Every Sunday, Boston Globe photographer Stan Grossfeld asks the subject of one of his photos to explain what's happening in the shot.

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Who's up today: Joseph Shurmatis, 28, of the Mystic River Rugby Club, shakes off a headlock to advance the ball against Middlesex at Pine Banks Park in Malden, April 7, 2012.

Shurmatis: “I’m thinking, ‘Why is this guy tackling me in the head? Quit hitting me so high.’ It’s technically against the rules to hit above the shoulders, and the refs could blow the whistle, but it’s their discretion and they let it go. I like to hit. If I’m going down, I’m trying to land in a way where you can get it back to a teammate, ideally by passing it backwards. I just like running with the ball. I was a running back in high school, and there’s nothing more fun. You’ve got to get used to the big ball, passing is tough, and rugby guys love the camaraderie. I was going to stop playing, but I love the camaraderie so much and it’s great exercise. After the game, we’ll go to a bar and invite the other team for beers.’’

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