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Two years ago, the Holy Cross rugby team was a pushover. Last fall, their technique had doubled in sophistication. And tomorrow, when the Crusaders return to Cambridge once again. they'll have a dangerously realistic chance of upsetting Harvard's experienced ruggers.
Holy Cross' steady improvement has been worrying the Crimson team all week as it has desperately hurried to get into shape and refine its technique in time for the opener Saturday morning.
Harvard's progress has been encouraging, and it has a solid core of veterans returning from the squad that defeated the Crusaders twice last fall on its way to a 5-3 record. But the traditional informality of rugby practices may work against the Crimson, since co-captains Ralph Harder and Phil Ordway have been unable to form a stable fifteen for any considerable length of time.
But Harvard's backfield is talented and explosive. and its scrum is experienced, knowledgeable and rugged, if they can overcome their lack of scrimmage time and create a sense of teamwork that cannot ordinarily be expected of a squad that has only practiced for five days, they should win. The material, including All-American fullback Joe Daly, is that talented.
The Crimson lost Parker Wise and Pat Cashman, both excellent performers. from last fall's backfield, but there is still quality remaining. Junior Phil Ordway, the regular scrumhalf last season, is back along with sophomore three-quarters Verdi DiSesa and Line Caplan. Bucky Hayes and Phil Williams will play on the wings, with Daly at fullback. Junior Greg Sandomirsky is the fly-half.
The scrum is seasoned and technically refined, and should take considerable pressure off the backfield if the Crimson has early trouble unifying its formations. Sione Tupounia, last year's captain and massive No. ?, and hooker Tom Maycock have graduated. but there was enough depth behind them to keep the Crimson relatively strong there.
Dave Ritchie and Roy Hope should play front row, with Ted Langford and Peter Gunn-Wilkinson at second row. Hal Clark and Dick Barrett, substituting for injured Gil Bettman, will be the starting wing forwards. with Kip Holmes as hooker and Harder as prop.
The Crimson "B" and "C" squads will also see action Saturday morning, with the "B" playing the first match at 9:30, and the "C" match folowing the "A" contest, which begins at 11:00. All three squads will play on the field behind the track bubble on Soldiers Field.
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