A well-conditioned Holy Cross fifteen jumped to an early lead in Saturday's rugby game, took advantage of poor Crimson pursuit and lack of coordination in the backfield to increase it, and left Cambridge with a convincing 11-0 shut-out.
It was a bad morning all around for Harvard rugby. The B squad. outplayed for the majority of its match. managed to produce six points on two penalty kicks and hang on for a 6-0 triumph. But after the match, the B's were quick to aoknowledge that their victory was due largely to poor Holy Cross placekicking. The Crusaders had missed at least five penalty attempts.
The C team, after stopping several deep Holy Cross penetrations in the first half, ran up a 6-0 lead midway through the second, then watched it vanish through two blocked kicks and an intercepted backfield pass.
Holy Cross scored a try on the first blocked kick, converted to pull within a point, then exploded within the next two minutes for another. A third put the match out of reach.
All three Crimson teams work out together each afternoon, so it was not surprising that all three suffered the same effects from lack of practice-decreased stamina and absence of precision in the backfield.
All were to be expected under the circumstances, but the loss to the Crusaders still came as a shock.
Didn't Expect Defet
"We knew that they'd be improved." said serum-half Phil Ord-way. "and we supposed that they'd be in condition. But I don't think we expected to be beaten, or at least not this badly. We need a lot of work, and we have to get it in as quickly as we can."
Precision, polished technique, and stamina will come with practice, and it should come fairly soon, because the Crimson has the material for a superb squad. But the question remains whether Harvard can unify and toughen itself in time for Saturday's match with Brown, a perennial rugby power.
Harvard's backfield is small, but extremely elusive and hard-running. The Brown Daily Herald, however, proclaims the Bruin backs as the best in the East, and the claim may have some validity. Unless the Crimson can integrate its timing in practice, and if the scrum has similar problems with pursuit, it could lose again.
"We're capable of improving drastically this week," says fullback Joe Daly, "and we know we have to. Brown will be ready and they'll be good."
Both the A and B squads host Bruin fifteens on Saturday morning, and the C squad will face M.I.T.