Harvard University vs Dartmouth 6-6

Harvard vs. Dartmouth
Harvard vs. Dartmouth

On a beautiful fall day in Hanover, NH, rivals Harvard and Dartmouth locked horns in an epic encounter. Despite the low scoreline, the game far from a defensive affair as both sides proved very dangerous on attack, though all each could manage was two penalties apiece.

The game was dominated early by the boot as both sides sought to play in the opposition’s half. Harvard had the best early chance as a grubber down the wing bounced awkwardly for the Dartmouth fullback near his goal line, but Harvard knocked-on trying to pick up the ball. Eventually, Harvard would draw first blood as fly-half Rob Campbell ’08 slotted his first of two penalties on the day.

Down by three points, Dartmouth played some excellent rugby from the restart. They would control the rest of the half in terms of territory.

On attack, the Dartmouth backline would stand very flat, hoping to open gaps in the face of the Harvard defensive line. With the use of expansive moves, accurate handling, and hard running, they produced some excellent scoring opportunities.

However, Dartmouth was outmatched at the breakdown. Harvard’s back row combination of Patrick Holkins ’09, Colin Kelly ’08, and Teddy Barron ’11 worked tirelessly to get to the breakdown and pilfer the ball off of isolated Dartmouth runners.

Harvard was also particularly dominant at the set-piece as they bullied Dartmouth with a good hit and drive. To his credit, the Dartmouth 8-man did extremely well to clean up at the back of the scrum and gain the advantage line. Despite significant scoring chances on both sides, the first half ended in a 3-3 deadlock.

Harvard started the second half with renewed passion and, under the direction of scrum-half Nick Rizzo ’09, promptly marched down the field to score an easy second penalty to open a three point lead. Harvard would continue to press in the second half with good territory and possession, but were again unable to convert opportunities due to sloppy handling and solid defensive work by Dartmouth. Dartmouth would even the score at 6 with a penalty of their own.

In the last minute of the game, it seemed as if Harvard might steal a victory but a quick penalty tap five meters out from the line was held up by an unyielding Dartmouth forward pack. This would be the last play of the game as both sides will surely look back on opportunities missed.

Next week, Harvard hosts Army whereas Dartmouth travels to Boston College in the final games of the regular season.

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