The Harvard rugby team left for a week-long tour in England last night. Their first match will be on Thursday against the University of Aberdeen in Richmond Stadium outside London. "It's like an English football team coming over here to play Notre Dame at South Bend." Greg Sandomirsky, co-captain and president of the Rugby Club, explained.
This is the team's first trip to Europe. Usually they vacation in Nassau or Jamaica before returning to their tough spring schedule. With a 7-0-1 record in Ivy competition last fall. Harvard will be a definite contender in the Ivy League Championship tournament at Brown on April 17.
The rugby team has the use of all of Harvard's athletic facilities, but gets no money from the University, and all trips are paid for by the players. Only eight of the starting 15 were able to pay their way over to England. Twenty-five players are going on the tour.
"Most rugby teams in America are comprised mainly of foreigners or former college football players." Sandomirsky said. "But our starting team is more than half undergraduates. Some of them are just too small to make the football team, but many of them prefer the informality of rugby to other college sports."
There are several varsity athletes playing rugby in the off-season. Verdi Disesa and Bucky Hayes played in the Fall and are regulars on the Lacrosse team. Spencer Driescharf, a starting guard in football, is playing this Spring.
The graduate school members are from diverse athletic backgrounds. Peter Devilliers is a former South African Decathalon champion. Bill Franman played center on the Ohio State basketball team before coming to Harvard Law School.
Accustomed to playing to crowds in transit between freshman soccer and JV football, the rugby team will get rare exposure when they play Princeton for the Hartford Cup on April 25. The game will be televised on 50 or 60 educational TV stations.
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