With ale in their veins and British drinking songs in their hearts, the Harvard Rugby Football Club returned to its home turf Monday after a 12-day tour through England.
The 35 touring players, over one-half members of last year's Eastern Division Championship and Ivy League title winning team, hope that the tour will allow them to offset the loss of several key players graduating in June. It was a similar tour to England in 1979 that most say took the then two-year-old team and transformed it into the squad that stunned rugby partisans across the nation last year with their 18-game winning streak and final finish in the number-two slot at the National Championships.
The tour was scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. at Logan Airport Thursday, but according to scrum half Robert Hackett. "We had a party starting at 2.00 which moved to the airport bar. The plane left at 9 30. "Hackett said that the plane "almost crashed," but, luckily, most of the passengers on the plane had been convinced by team members to wear lucky Hashumakes--headbands which were worn by Japanese kamikaze pilots--made, in the case, out of toilet paper.
Four matches were arranged for the team, putting the ruggers against some of the United Kingdom's top teams. Between games, the team went sightseeing and attended training sessions.
And then there were the pubs "Every pub that we went into we just took over," commented team president Keith Cooper.
The Crimson did not dominate the-field, however, losing 26-16 to St Brendon's College, considered the best high school team on Britain, and 32-18 to the Glamorgan Wanderers a Welsh team.
Cooper remarked that, in view of the reputations of their opponents, the losses were to be expected.
Harvard tied 21-21 in their game against the Wasps Colts and beat Tonbridge RFC 44-0.
Harvard players were taken into the homes of each of the hosting teams members. The hospitality of the English is unbelievable,' said Hackett. "You trade all of your clothes--anything that says Harvard they want."
Timothy A Endicott '83, scrum half, commented that "we didn't really know what to expect--we learned we're not as good as we thought. "Hackett said that "although a lot of us are bumped and bruised and really hung over, we'll dry out," adding. "We learned a lot of good rugby."