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Rugby Whips Harvard 13-10 in Season Finale

By Chris Townsend
team member

In an exciting season finale at Harvard last Saturday, the men's rugby team held off a strong challenge from local rival Harvard Business School to win the game 1310 and bring their record this fall to 60.

The teams were evenly matched and neither was able to exert a stranglehold on the game. MIT tried to impose the mixture of strong driving play and running rugby which they had played successfully all season but found it difficult to settle into a rhythm. The difficulty stemmed in large part from a quick Harvard defense and strong counter attacks.

The Engineers made their customary strong start to the match and created numerous attacking positions during the opening period. However, they were not able to capitalize on these plays and were let down by uncharacteristic poor ball control in last quarter of the pitch, allowing Harvard to counter, which they did with tactical kicking and breakaway running.

After 15 minutes, the MIT defense fumbled a high ball to enable the chasing Harvard attack to touch down for the opening try. It looked as if Harvard would build upon this momentum and take control, but the MIT scrum was superior throughout the match and never enabled Harvard to dominate possession.

Before halftime, John Higginson G slotted two penalties for the Engineers to reduce the deficit to a single point.

The second half was played in much the same vein as the first. MIT opened with a collection of strong forward moves and was rewarded in the early minutes with a try by left wing Chris Kantner '97. This was converted with an impressive kick from the sideline by Higginson to give MIT a six-point lead.

As the half continued, Harvard once again played themselves into the game, and by the end of the match the Engineers were forced to defend for long periods. However, they managed to hold onto their lead, restricting further Harvard scoring to a single penalty in the dying minutes of the game.

The penalty was not enough to defeat MIT, and the Engineers won the game 1310 to end the season with an undefeated record.