Harvard Secure Play-off Spot
28 Oct 2006
Harvard played their best game of the season to beat Dartmouth 28 – 13 and secures second spot in the White Conference.
Harvard going into the match not only needed to win the game but they needed to win by 13 or more to advance to the play-offs.
Harvard Forwards captain Blazej Kesy was all smiles after the game, “To beat Dartmouth at any time is difficult, but to beat them on their home soil and to beat them by 15 points and advance through to the play-offs is an outstanding achievement from this young team”
No. 8 Jean Sebastien Cagnioncle was outstanding and may have played his best game in the crimson uniform; he scored 2 tries and kicked 4 conversions to end with an 18 point tally. Captains Josh Copp and Blazej Kesy have provided the team with great leadership all season but took their performances to a new level on Saturday. Kesy made valuable meters taking the ball on and Copp has become a very solid midfield back and has filled the boots of Tim Naylor very nicely.
Man-of-the-match and second rower Colin Kelly made several try saving tackles in the last 20 minutes and was a dominate figure in the lineout.
Dartmouth has a very good defensive structure and like to push up hard on their oppositions inside backs. Harvard never gave them an opportunity to practice out their defensive system as Harvard kept the ball tight and made valuable yards around the base of the ruck.
Harvard dominated the early forward exchanges and were rewarded with 2 tries to Cagnioncle in the opening 15 minutes.
Dartmouth got themselves back into the match by scoring a well constructed try and later a penalty.
Harvard pulled away again in the 34th minute when Josh Copp broke through and scored underneath the sticks to make the score 21 – 8 which was unchanged going into the second half.
Dartmouth came out all guns blazing in the second half and scored another very good team try. The try was again unconverted but Dartmouth had closed the gap to 8 points.
Harvard was able to gain territorial superiority in the second half and this was thanks to the boot of flyhalf Rob Campbell. Campbell eventually produced the final nail in the Dartmouth’s coffin by chasing up one of his précised kicks and scoring underneath the posts.
The last 10 minutes was all Dartmouth and they did everything to get to the next round. They created many opportunities but couldn’t quite get the points needed.
Harvard showed huge amounts of passion and determination in the last few minutes. Dartmouth actually got the ball over the line with 3 minutes to go but was stripped by a desperate Harvard player. It was the deciding play and it symbolized Harvard’s spirit.
Harvard had a great time in Dartmouth and would like to thank the Dartmouth officials for providing an enjoyable day. It was great to play at a purpose built rugby facility and all the players in the Harvard team thought it was the best field they have ever played on. Dartmouth still holds one of the templates on how a program should be run and it is unfortunate that the league structure is set up in a way that they can not show their true talents this season.