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The second rugby match between two American universities occurred in May of 1876 when Harvard traveled to New Haven to meet Yale. In what would be called the “concessionary” game, because one half was rugby union, and the other half soccer football, Harvard prevailed. The Cantabs played rugby three times before (McGill twice and Tufts once), introducing the sport to the Elis for the first time.
Walter Camp played for Yale in that initial encounter. He played six-years for Yale, serving on the Rules Committee, and being the driving force that converted rugby union to gridiron football.
Fast forward 129-years to 2005, when the schools met again in New Haven, this time featuring Women’s and Men’s matches.
The November games were played inside the Yale Bowl, and preceded the football match that attracted 50,000 fans to “The Game.”
The Women’s contest witnessed Yale beating Radcliffe 32-7. The Elis dominated play from the start and roared to a 15-0 lead at the break. Scrumhalf Amanda Webb notched two tries for Yale.
The Men’s contest was closer with Harvard winning 19-14. The men from Cambridge started two All-Americans, both of whom featured in the original score on a try by Tim Naylor and a conversion by Jean Cagnioncle. Up 7-0, Harvard scored a second try before half time to lead 14-0.
Yale awoke in the second half scoring two tries. Robert Cardone accurately made the conversions to tie the game at 14-14.
The Harvard scrum drove deep into Yale territory, and, with nine-minutes remaining, Cagnioncle peeled away to drive in for the unconverted and game winning try.