Match Report - Harvard vs Yale
22 Nov 2006
Yale beat Harvard 14-12 on Saturday to end their season on a high note.
The game was a lackluster affair as players from both teams showed signs of enjoying the Harvard/Yale weekend festivities a little too much. The game was played at Harvard, but not on the No. 1 rugby field. The Harvard Athletic Department again showed a lack of respect for the sport and ordered Harvard's rugby officials to play the game on a football training field - the field was only 50 yards wide! I guess the alumni tail gate parties, which took place on the main rugby field, were more important. It's a shame that such organizations have such antiquated attitudes towards our game. Here's a great rivalry between two good teams - one team who has made it to the Round Of Sixteen and the other who beat that team in regular season play - having to play at 10am on a muddy, shortened field so Alumni members can pitch their tents and pretend they can party like they used to.
The game itself was a tough battle. Both teams suffered from claustrophobia as there seemed to be no space anywhere. Harvard was up 12 - 0 at halftime and were looking menacing as the teams turned at the half. In the second half, however, Yale showed tremendous team spirit and tackled as if their lives depended on it. Cracks appeared as they began to wear down the Crimson. Yale scored two converted tries to win the match. I'm sure Yale will be elated with the victory and they thoroughly deserve it. It just goes to show how poorly the NERFU season is structured when you get a team like Yale not being able to compete in the latter stages of competition.
The game was also marred by poor refereeing. Both teams became very frustrated with some of the interpretations. Both teams lost their fullbacks to the sin bin for offside play. According to the ref there had been repeated offences of offside play. So why send the fullbacks off? Most striking about the refereeing performance was the fact he didn't know where to stand from lineouts. At times he would stand in between the lineout jumper and the halfback! Where do NERFU get these guys from? And who's teaching them? The referee should be the 31st figure on the field not the 1st. There are some great referees in New England but there are a couple of shockers that aren't doing anything for the development of the game in this country.
Harvard will be disappointed with the result but know it was a festive game. They will train hard over the winter break to prepare themselves for a tour to Ireland, to defend the Beanpot, to win Ivy's and, more importantly, to win the National Championship.