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Original Issue

Rugger: Romping Duel in the May Sun

Players and spectators, as in these scenes of Princeton-Yale rivalry, are finding the old game a mighty attractive spring pastime

On more and more May campuses such old favorites as baseball, crew and track are having to make room for a venerable but newly vigorous rival: Rugby. Rugger's uniforms may look like a nostalgic revival of 1870 football but, as the Princeton scene on the following pages will testify, the action is plenty spirited, and the game offers the further satisfaction for spectators of bringing them right up to fieldside for vantage points on the grass. Usually the team is a club, an unofficial offshoot of the university athletic program, which not only arranges its own schedule and pays its own way on road trips but also finds its own coach. Moreover, there are no half-time retreats to a locker room for coachly harangues; half time is for flopping on the sidelines and having bumps and bruises balmed by dolls from Vassar, Smith, Stanford, California and similar outposts.

All this is not to say that Rugby is taken lightly by its practitioners. Schedules are rigorous, competition keen. Already this season Dartmouth, strongest in the seven-club Eastern Rugby Union, has voyaged to England where it took five out of seven matches (SI, Jan. 19) and has traveled to the West Coast where it won three out of four. Harvard flew to Bermuda and won the annual Bermuda Rugby Week trophy during spring vacation, and five teams in St. Louis, mid-western Rugby stronghold, have been fighting it out to see which would meet the winner of the Ontario Rugby Union series in a postseason contest.

Not surprisingly in a game of such informality, there is a remarkable lack of reliable statistics. In the 29-year-old Yale-Princeton rivalry reflected on these pages, for instance, nobody seems to have the foggiest notion of who's ahead over the years. Princeton won the rugged game shown here 5-3.

At half-time intermission, Rugby's only time-out, a Princeton player gets the admiring attention of sideline spectators

Happy half-time group of Reuben Donnelley (left), Marilyn West, Joseph Alsop Jr., Douglas Churchill and Pam Martin shows Rugby's carefree informality