League leaders suffer defeats as 'endless entertainment' continues in university rugby

Edinburgh beat table-toppers Cardiff Met in the Women's National League

BUCS Super Rugby is now into the second half of the campaign, with every side having played each other once already.

This week saw both upsets and high-scoring encounters as the title and playoff race continued to heat up.

The most memorable clash of the week occurred in the West Country as Bath University welcomed Durham University, with the hosts seeking revenge for their defeat in Round One.

The first 40 minutes set the tone for a closely fought encounter, as both sides headed into the break with three tries to their name, with the visitors two points ahead thanks to a flawless kicking display from Cal Grieve.

And it was the boot of the Durham fly half that would eventually win them the game as they held off a late onslaught from the Blue and Gold to close out a 35-33 victory, with only a missed Bath conversion separating the two.

Fifty miles north, Hartpury University entertained league leaders and previously the only undefeated side, Exeter University.

The hosts raced into a 10-0 lead but Exeter soon fought back to bring the scores level thanks to a Seb Driscoll try and a Charlie McCaig penalty.

The three-time BSR Championship winners produced an emphatic second-half display to defeat Exeter 31-17, taking all five points and handing the Devonian institution their first defeat of the season.

Round 10 also brought us multiple derbies, one of which saw Nottingham University travel south to take on Loughborough University with both sides searching for Midlands bragging rights.

The hosts and reigning league champions wasted no time at all getting on the scoreboard as they were awarded a penalty try after two minutes, which they then followed up with two further efforts to take them into the break with a 21-10 lead.

Will Callan scored midway through the second half for Nottingham to get them within eight points, but the African Violet were too strong for the visitors as they raced away to a 42-27 victory, closing the gap on Exeter to seven points.

The second derby of the week was an all-Welsh clash, as Cardiff Met University welcomed Swansea University.

The hosts were looking to build on their impressive win against Loughborough University last time out, and they were quick to continue their fine form, securing the bonus point before half-time.

Four more tries in the second half was more than enough to hand Swansea their fifth defeat in a row, with the result finishing 48-12 in Cardiff Met’s favour.

The final BUCS Super Rugby game of the week between Leeds Beckett University and Cardiff University was well fought and on a knife edge for 80 minutes.

Leeds Beckett have been resurgent so far this season, and they impressed once more this week as they came out victorious against the Welsh side, with the game finishing 20-19.

Cardiff have only two victories to their name this campaign, but another bonus point this week takes them above their neighbours Swansea University and into the playoff spots.

Women’s National League

Round 11 of the Women’s National League was equally as thrilling, with a few sides laying down a marker.

One of those teams were Exeter University who were looking to bounce back from their defeat to Cardiff Met University last week.

They faced a Welsh side once more as they welcomed Cardiff University across the border. The Devonian side put together what was undoubtedly their best performance of the season as they scored 13 tries, with Alessia Skeates contributing four to record an emphatic 83-0 drubbing.

This was the second week in a row where Cardiff were unable to record any points, and they will need a change in their fortunes to avoid finishing bottom of the WNL.

League leaders Cardiff Met travelled north to take on an Edinburgh University side who have been in fine form in recent weeks.

The visitors would have hoped to extend their lead at the top, but the Scottish side had other ideas as they closed the gap to only three points after winning 36-15 against The Archers.

Elsewhere in the Women’s National League, Hartpury University returned to action after having two consecutive bye weeks.

The champions showed no sign of rust as they took on a Loughborough side who were looking to break into the top four. Hartpury scored four tries on their way to securing a 22-5 win, putting themselves in a strong position to challenge for the league as the back end of the season edges closer.