Captain Keith Oberg knows his rugby. On Friday Oberg predicted that a skilled Harvard squad with an "excellent kicker" would triumph over an aggressive but penalty-prone Holy Cross. He was right.
On Saturday, the rugby team--led by Charles Walter Arden Botts's four field goals and strong scrum play--defeated the scrappy Crusaders, 12-3, at the Business School rugby field. The victory ups the club's record to 2-0, and extends its fall season winning streak (including last season's perfect 9-0 ledger) to 12.
The left foot of British-born Bott, a transfer from the University of Indiana and Harvard's star kicker, accounted for all the Crimson scoring in a game without any four-point tries (the rugby equivalent of a touchdown). The players attributed the lack of tries to the narrow field which limited the maneuverability of both teams' backs. The squad normally plays its games at Soldiers Field.
The Crimson ruggers dominated the intense first half action, methodically driving around end, after successfully controlling the play. Supported by Harvard's talented linemen, hooker Rick Kief repeatedly directed the ball back to the waiting O'Berg, the scrum half. "Little Red," who seemed to be all over the field throughout the game, would crisply pass the ball to one of the backs.
Midway through the half, Oberg hit Bott, who split the uprights with a beautiful 25-yd. drop kick. Moments later, the talented transfer student added another three points with a 20-yd. penalty kick.
Holy Cross threatened only once in the first half, when a Crusader back streaked around end only to be tackled within ten yards of the Crimson goal. But a Holy Cross penalty during the ensuing scrum enabled Harvard to clear the ball.