Harvard University vs Yale 24-13

Harvard vs. Yale
Harvard vs. Yale

In an early Saturday morning clash, Harvard and Yale paid homage to their long-standing rivalry by playing a tough and close match. The Rugby Game proved much more exciting than the blowout that occurred in football later that afternoon, though the result was essentially the same – a victory for the Crimson.

Yale, having fallen to Harvard 53-10 earlier in the regular season, came out with something to prove. They took advantage of a sluggish Harvard team that hadn’t really trained since a playoff exit and were able to beat Harvard around the outside. Yale managed three points before Harvard could find a solution: fullback Jonny Cummins ’11 intercepted a labored pass from an expansive move and raced the length of the field to score easily under the posts, 7-3.

From here, Harvard changed tactics. Perhaps expecting to walk over their rivals, the Harvard men were brought down to Earth and realized they were in a dogfight against a Yale team that wouldn’t just roll over.

Some productive tactics emerged: the Harvard lineout and driving maul decimated the opponents, but securing the ball at the breakdown – in part due to committed rucking from Yale – was lacking. Yale would score a try to bring the score to 10-7 to close the half.

In the second half, following coach Dave Gonzales’ advice, Harvard returned to basics. They attempted to secure control of the ball and go wide when the opportunity arose. Yale was weak through the centers and the Harvard midfield exploited this gap in the defense. After several fluid phases, the tactic paid off and center TJ Brennan ’10 powered his way through a Yale winger to score in the corner, 12-10.

But Yale would respond with a penalty kick only minutes later. With only fifteen minutes remaining, the Crimson trailed by a point. With Yale on the offensive, Brennan pounced a Yale knock-on and passed off to his midfield partner Dan Deighton ’10. The pair then raced down the field with some nifty give and go passing to dot down and put the Crimson ahead for good. Yale’s spirits crushed, Harvard would run in another try to bring the final score to 24-13.

Though Harvard were unable to repeat a trip to the Nationals, they finish the fall campaign with a solid 5-2-2 record. There were some disappointing losses, but also some terrific rugby including a 20-0 romp of Army and two victories over rival Yale. The players would like to thank the coaching staff of Dave Gonzales and Willie Tonery for the time, commitment, and belief they’ve put into the season, as well as all the fans, alumni, and friends of Harvard Rugby for supporting us throughout the year. See you in the spring!

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