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Still smarting from its opening loss to Holy Cross last weekend. Harvard's rugby squad hosts tough Brown tomorrow morning. and scrum-half Phil Ordway feels that if the Crimson does lose again, it won't be for the same reason.
"We were in terrible condition." Ordway says, "and instead of beating them as we could have, we were shut out. We've been working really hard this week. especially on our wind. and after practice we've been running sprints. If we lose tomorrow. we'll be losing to a better team. not beating ourselves."
Part of Harvard's problem last Saturday was lack of cross-field coverage by the forwards. a deficiency which the Crimson has cleared up in practice sessions this week. The backfield, which suffered from lack of precision and timing, has been coordinating with increasing skill.
So Harvard is in shape. and its technique has improved noticeably in drills. But Brown has always been a tough opponent for the Crimson-one which it has not beaten in its last three attempts. And the Bruins lost only four men from the fifteen that was generally considered second only to Yale in the East last spring.
Club president Dave Zucconi, a 35-year old Brown graduate. anchors a fast, elusive backfield which includes All-American fullback Bill Mullin. and Mike Diffily. another All-American, leads a rugged scrum. The Bruins trounced Newport. 28-0, last week, and the Brown "B" squad lost narrowly to the first Tufts fifteen.
But Harvard's backfield. at least in terms of talent. is a match for the Bruins. The crucial factors will be timing and teamwork, areas which the Crimson has sharpened greatly during the past week. Ordway. a two-year veteran at scrumhalf. will be passing to deceptive Mario Small at fly. and Greg Sandomisrsky will team with Verdi DiSesa at the wing three-quarters. Jamie Plunkett and Bucky Hayes will play on the wings. and All-American Joe Daly will be at fallback.
The loss of No. 8 Ralph Harder and hooker Kip Holmes will hurt the scrum. so experienced wing forwards Gil Bettman and Hal Clark may have to make up the difference with consistent breakthroughs to the Bruin scrum-half. If they can delay Brown's fast backfield long enough for the scrum to cover. Harvard could win.
The "A" match begins at 11 a.m. on the field behind the track bubble. with a "B" match following shortly after noon. The "C" squad hosts M.I.T. at 9:45 a.m.
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