The Harvard Rugby Club faces Villanova this morning in its second game of the season on the rugby field behind the tennis courts at 11 a.m.
It just isn't clear what's going to happen, however. The team hoped to improve considerably in practice this week--an improvement which was to culminate in a sprightly scrimmage against the Business School on Thursday. It didn't happen, however.
Play looked sluggish, and although the team learned from its defeat at the hands of New York last Saturday, it did not develop needed coordination and, most important, scoring potential.
"Games should not be scheduled during the first three weeks of the term," is a perennial complaint. But scheduled they are, and Harvard will have to hustle to down Villanova today.
Two years ago the Crimson beat Philadelphia's toughies easily, but what they're bringing today remains a mystery. Villanova reputedly hits hard, plays rough, and has less than a complete knowledge of the sport. In fact, two years ago they were as inept as the Crimson appeared against New York.
Scrimmage Thursday against the Business School's International array of experienced players indicated the Crimson hasn't yet licked its major faults either.
The importance of team play cannot be underestimated in rugger. With rules against blocking and forward passes, individual stardom is much less likely than in football. Only the ballcarrier can be tackled, making it essential to keep play open so he can pass.
Against New York last Saturday and again in scrimmage Thursday, play remained tight instead of loose. One back would break, get away, and be pulled down when he might have passed.
A better coordinated set of backs should improve Saturday's game. It is hoped veteran player Ray Vickers, speedy Gage McAfee, and tough Eric Bradley will pass more often. The scrum still lacks weight but better timing should make it more effective.
Freshman Quentin Spector, who played rugger in England, shows promise although he may not give much weight to the scrum as wing forward. In lock position at the back of the pack is Kit Barrow, veteran player of three years and former fullback.