Cardiff Met are the new leaders in BUCS Super Rugby as they won a testing derby day clash against Cardiff University.
Danny Milton’s side had to fight hard against an excellent Cardiff Uni side to claim the bragging rights at Cardiff Arms Park, but Met are now one point clear at the top.
Hartpury University were at the summit before Wednesday’s action, but the Gloucestershire outfit fell to a defeat away at the University of Bath which means Sean Lynn’s men have dropped to third in the table.
The University of Exeter are up to second after returning to winning ways against Nottingham Trent while there were comfortable victories for Northumbria University and Leeds Beckett University, respectively.
Below is our review from this week’s BUCS Super Rugby action as well as a round-up of the latest University Rugby news.
Cardiff Met University battled hard as they beat city rivals Cardiff University to move to the top of BUCS Super Rugby.
Met captain Aled Ward crashed over to give the Archers the lead, but an excellent run and offload from Cam Lewis allowed Ben Thomas to touch down for Cardiff Uni at Cardiff Arms Park.
Harry Johnston extended Met’s lead when he landed a penalty and they took control of this encounter following a controversial score.
Luke Northmore evaded a couple of Uni tackles and it looked as though he had grounded the ball, but replays suggested he fell short of the line.
Try or no try? ??— BUCS Super Rugby (@BUCSSuperRugby) December 12, 2018
The referee has awarded the try, but what do you think? Comment below ?? pic.twitter.com/RPjIJcWV6g
However, the try stood and Met were able to increase their advantage after the break through Eduardo Balocco.
The Met try scorer was then sin-binned and after spells of intense pressure from Cardiff Uni, they finally broke through as Ioan Davies finished superbly.
Alun-Wyn Davies’s side were rewarded for their excellent second half display with another try on 66 minutes as Tom Wilson dotted down to set-up a grandstand finale.
But, Danny Milton’s side were presented with a penalty opportunity six minutes from time which Johnston pinged over before Northmore grabbed his second try to secure the bonus-point victory for Met.
Man of the Match Rhodri Wall (Cardiff Uni): “It was a tough physical game. They defended well and we didn’t take our chances. We were camped in their 22 in that second-half and couldn’t get anything from it. They showed how clinical they were and that’s the step up from the league we were in to the league we are in now.
“We’ve started [the season] really rocky, but should have got something from Northumbria away and Durham at home so we are there or thereabouts. It just comes down to little things like discipline and switching off at the wrong times.”
#TRUPodcast— Talking Rugby Union (@TalkRugbyUnion) December 13, 2018
???? A clip from our first TRU Podcast where we aim to cover all levels of the game.
Here’s @joeharvey34, @c_heal & Max Ashcroft reflecting on Cardiff Met’s Derby Day win over Cardiff Uni.#BUCSSuperRugby @cardiffmetrfc pic.twitter.com/1HNvR4dCXx
Cardiff Met Head of Rugby Danny Milton: “In the second half, Cardiff University threw the kitchen sink at us and they are going to be gutted because they really deserved something more out of that.
“We have had a look at the video [of Northmore’s first try] and it looks like we have got away with a lucky one there. Perhaps the referee and the touch judges have made the wrong call on that one, but I would like to focus on the second try which was an absolutely fantastic finish. From our point of view, we will take the bonus-point!
“You see Leeds Beckett putting 40 points on Loughborough, it [BUCS Super Rugby] is crazy. Every week seems to throw up shock results. What I do know now is that we have another big game next week against Exeter down at Topsham so we look forward to that.”
Following their defeat to Hartpury last week, the University of Exeter responded by clinching a hard-fought win against Nottingham Trent University.
Last year’s domestic champions went 14-0 up through Richard Chapstick and George Chatterton.
But Nottingham Trent hit back as a brace from Tom Wooton reduced the deficit to four points after the interval.
The visitors began to edge away when Pierre Thompson dotted down, but Trent looked as though they had clinched a losing bonus-point when Max Craven had crossed.
However, it was Keith Fleming’s side that came away with the extra points thanks to a late try which helped Exeter move up to second spot in BUCS Super Rugby ahead of their top of the table clash with Cardiff Met.
Hugo Stiles scored 21 points as the University of Bath survived a late fightback to defeat BUCS Super Rugby Championship holders Hartpury for the second time in three weeks.
Tries from Stiles and James Hadfield, as well as two penalties from the Bath full-back, gave the hosts a 20-17 half-time lead, with Dwayne Burrows and Nick English crossing for Hartpury.
A penalty try for the home side and another three points from Stiles put Bath 30-17 ahead with 15 minutes to go, but Hartpury were able to cut the lead when Evrin Muric went over.
Stiles’ boot gave Bath a nine-point lead on 73 minutes and despite a bonus-point try from Hartpury’s Harry Short, Aaron James’ side held on for the victory which leaves five points behind leaders Cardiff Met.
"To beat the table-toppers twice in three weeks is massive for us. Not many teams have done the double over Hartpury in recent years."— Team Bath (@TeamBath) December 12, 2018
Report and reaction from another memorable #BUCSSuperRugby win for in-form @UOBathRugby at the @UniofBath STV.https://t.co/h4IpGE2vZm pic.twitter.com/D2xkxiwwRT
As for Hartpury, they have dropped to third and are now three points off the top.
Head of Rugby Aaron James speaking to Team Bath’s website: “We don’t beat Hartpury very often so to beat them twice in a season is really good for us.
“The players are working hard for each other and we have some momentum now, we’ve just got to keep it going now. We’ll enjoy this but we have Leeds Beckett away next week and we can’t slow down.”
Northumbria University secured their sixth win of the campaign as they defeated in-form hosts Durham University.
After a strong start from the home side which saw Henry Paremain go over, Northumbria managed to score 24 points without reply, including three tries.
Darren Fearn’s men stay sixth in the BUCS Super Rugby table with their final game before Christmas coming against Nottingham Trent at Kingston Park while Durham travel to Loughborough.
Leeds Beckett University ended a five-game losing streak as they overcame Loughborough University with a stylish bonus-point win.
Two scores, one from Johnny Keh, gave the hosts the momentum after 20 minutes before further tries - including Gareth Stephens' effort - put Beckett 29-3 up at the break.
Sam Theron and Keh added second half tries as Leeds scored 15 unanswered points to move off the bottom of the division.
Loughborough could only manage a penalty from the boot of Tom Lewis on a tough afternoon in Yorkshire.
The final game before Christmas in North A saw the University of Birmingham continue their fine form to move up to second in the table. The Midlands club clinched their third win on the spin as they defeated the University of Leeds 42-12.
In North B, Leeds Beckett 2nds ended 2018 with an excellent 32-7 win over Durham 3rds which leaves the Yorkshire club third in the standings and eight points off leaders the University of Sheffield.
In a fiery Welsh derby, Swansea University came out on top against Cardiff Met 2nds as they won 21-18. Swansea are now up to third in South A following four wins on the spin.
St Mary’s University increased their lead at the top of South B following a 103-0 thumping of Reading University. Pete Richards’ men are 10 points clear of Exeter 2nds who beat Cardiff 2nds 38-29 while Hartpury 3rds hammered the University of Portsmouth 64-0.