Redmen ruggers rock, capture Covo Cup in Cambridge



CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Gideon Balloch scored a game-high 16 points as the visiting McGill Redmen rugby team rallied from a first-half 13-point deficit to defeat Harvard 41-30 and capture the 33rd  Covo Cup game at Cumnock Field on the campus of Harvard University, Saturday.


Balloch, a 6-foot, 185-pound mechanical engineering senior from Hong Kong, scored a pair of tries and added three conversions as McGill captured the Covo Cup over the Crimson Red and now leads the series 18-15.


The Cup, which was initiated in 1974 to mark the centennial of the first meeting between the two storied clubs in 1874, is named in memory of the late Peter Covo, a former multi-sport athlete at McGill, who went on to become a professor and rugby coach at the University.


Rounding out the McGill scoring with one try apiece was team captain Alex Sunell of West Vancouver, B.C., Joshua Blair of Franklin Centre, Que., Nicolas Charlton and Nitai Ben-Schach , both from Montreal and Keelan Chapman, a native of Beijing


It marked the first career tries for Sunell and Ben-Shach, both of whom were suiting up for the last time.


Jaime Zobel De Ayala led Harvard with eight points and was one of five different try scorers for the Crimson. Gabe Cunningham added seven points with a try and one conversion. Rounding out the scoring for the host squad was Tom Schadewald, Brendan Hanrahan and Nick Torres.


"It was particularly gratifying for myself and the other graduating players to go out with a big win in this historic rivalry," said Balloch, who was named as McGill's "man of the match".


It was also the final game for Balloch's twin brother Joshua, as well as Ben-Shach and Jonathan Minz.  (Other graduating players left school after the fall semester or were unable to make the trip to Cambridge).


The Redmen bus arrived late and only had time for a shortened pre-game warm-up. As a result, Harvard jumped into an 18-5 lead by the 22-minute mark. Six minutes later, Balloch ignited the comeback in a game that featured four lead changes.


"After six hours on a bus it was clear that we were a bit lethargic to start off the game," explained Balloch, who also serves as the club president.  "Harvard ran in a few tries off of our mistakes but we regrouped and after 20 minutes really got our systems going and starting a clinical comeback. Offensively we were very good, especially after not playing since early November.  Defensively there were some uncharacteristic mistakes on our part with this being the first contact for our team in several months. But in the end, it was a great game."


REDMEN RAP: Louis Galtie suited up for his first official game as a member of the Redmen... McGill retains the Covo Cup for the third straight meeting (2009, 2010, 2012)...  The last time Harvard won was in 2007; the game was not contested in 2008 or 2011.



McGill 41, Harvard 30

(Covo Cup @ Cumnock Field II, Cambridge, Mass)



1.     HARVARD: penalty kick by Jaime Zobel De Ayala, 3:00 (Harvard 3-0)

2.     McGILL: try by Alex (Bamber) Sunell; (conversion missed by Gideon Balloch)  -- 10m run after some systematic offence by McGill forwards, 7:00 (McGill 5-3)

3.     HARVARD: try by Jaime Zobel De Ayala, (conversion missed by Jaime Zobel De Ayala) , 13:00 (Harvard 8-5)

4.     HARVARD: try by Tom Schadewald, (conversion missed by Jaime Zobel De Ayala), 18:00 (Harvard 12-5)

5.     HARVARD: try by Brendan Hanrahan, (conversion missed by Jaime Zobel De Ayala), 22:00 (Harvard 18-5)

6.     McGILL: try by Gideon Balloch, (conversion missed by Gideon Balloch),  -- 30m run, out wide, as McGill's backs opened up the Harvard defence, 28:00 (Harvard 18-10)

7.     McGILL: try by Gideon Balloch, (conversion missed by Cameron Perrin),  -- 20m run which came off of some impressive offload passing by centres Joshua Balloch, Josh Blair, and fly-half Connor McKenzie, 35:00 (Harvard 18-15)



8.     HARVARD: try by Gabe Cunningham, (conversion missed by Jaime Zobel De Ayala), -- 10m run, 45:00 (Harvard 23-15)

9.     McGILL: try by Nitai Ben-Shach, (conversion missed by Gideon Balloch). -- A clinical goal-line try that came off of several phases of goal-line offence, 49:00 (Harvard 23-20)

10.  McGILL: try by Joshua Blair, (conversion made by Gideon Balloch).  -- 20m run to split the Harvard defence and score right under the posts, 54:00 (McGill 27-23)

11.  McGILL: try by Keelan Chapman, (conversion made by Gideon Balloch). -- 15m run where Chapman beat several tacklers to score in the corner, 65:00 (McGill 34-23)

12.  McGILL: try by Nicolas Charlton, (conversion made by Gideon Balloch). -- 20m run, Charlton faked a pass and ran the ball instead to score a great individual try, 70:00 (McGill 41-23)

13.  HARVARD: Try by Nick Torres, (conversion by Gabe Cunningham) -- Injury time consolation try, 80:00 (McGill 41-30)


McGill Dress Roster

1. Andrew Stephens

2. Nitai Ben-Shach

3. Keelan Chapman

4. Alex (Bamber) Sunell

5. Michael Bourdeau

6. Stephen Albers

7. Devon Adams

8. Ruaridh Mackenzie

9. Daniel Levin (subbed out for Nicolas Charlton at 22:00)

10. Connor McKenzie

11. Louis Galtie

12. Joshua Blair

13. Joshua Balloch

14. Gideon Balloch

15. Cameron Perrin

16. Jonathan Minz

17. Nick Park

18. Ian Carvalho-Campos

19. Nicolas Charlton (subbed in for Daniel Levin at 22:00)



1974: McGill won 6-3

1975: McGill won 13-12

1976: Harvard won 27-0

1977: Harvard won 24-10

1978: McGill won 12-8

1979: Harvard won 16-0 (or 19-0)

1980: Harvard won 27-9

1981: Harvard won (score unavailable)

1982: McGill won 15-3

1983: McGill won 8-0

1984: McGill won 28-7

1985: McGill won 21-0

1986: McGill won 49-3

1987: McGill won 22-14

1988: Harvard won 9-7

1989: Harvard won (score unavailable)

1990: McGill won 35-0

1991: Harvard won 16-9

1992: McGill won 14-8

1993: Harvard won 14-9

1994: Harvard won 9-7

1995: McGill won 30-7

1996: McGill won 32-25

1997: Harvard won 17-14

1998: Harvard won (score not available)

1999: (no game)

2000: (no game)

2001: McGill won 45-7

2002: Harvard won 17-0

2003: McGill won 37-0

2004: (no game)

2005: (no game)

2006: Harvard won 10-7

2007: Harvard won 22-7

2008: (no game)

2009: McGill won 15-3

2010: McGill won 34-17

2011: (no game)

2012: McGill won 41-30



Earl Zukerman

Communications Officer

Athletics & Recreation

McGill University

514-398-7012 (Tel.)