The 2019/20 BUCS Super Rugby season is just over a month away and champions Hartpury begin the new campaign by hosting Cardiff University on 25th September.
Last season’s runners-up Leeds Beckett University will start the new term with a home fixture against Northumbria University while Swansea University, who earned promotion into BUCS Super Rugby, travel to Loughborough University in the opening round of matches.
Elsewhere, last year’s domestic champions the University of Exeter welcome the University of Bath to Topsham while Cardiff Met and Durham University kick the new season off at the start of October against the aforementioned duo of Exeter and Bath, respectively.
Fierce rivals Hartpury, who have won all three editions of BUCS Super Rugby, and Exeter meet in Round Four as both sides look to add more silverware to the trophy cabinet this season.
The first Welsh derby of the campaign takes place on November 6th when Swansea entertain Cardiff while Cardiff Met against Cardiff University is set for December 11th.
The domestic season will conclude on March 4th before the play-offs get underway.
Can anybody halt Hartpury?
Exeter, Cardiff Met and Leeds Beckett have all tried and failed to clinch glory at Twickenham as Sean Lynn’s side have been totally dominant at the home of English rugby over the last three years. The likes of Seb Negri, Tom Pashley and Will Crane have led their team to success since BUCS Super Rugby was introduced in 2016/17 and the Gloucestershire institution will be keen to make it four titles in a row.
Their pre-season preparations have begun well as Hartpury eased past National Two South side Clifton on Thursday, but there will be several BUCS Super Rugby outfits that will fancy their chances of toppling the champions.
4 second half tries saw @HartpuryRugby win strongly at @cliftonrugby. The scores included a second for Caven. Toby Venner and Alex Forrester also crossed and there was a driven try from the pack. The final score was 0-42. Nathan Chamberlain and Luke Cole were 100% on the extras— Hartpury Rugby (@HartpuryRugby) August 22, 2019
Northumbria, Leeds Beckett and Loughborough all defeated Hartpury in 2018/19 whilst Exeter and Bath beat the champions twice during the regular season.
Exeter will be strong yet again as they go in search of their first title since 2016 whilst for Bath, they will want to avoid falling at the semi-final stage for the third year running.
After a sluggish start to last term, Leeds Beckett surged to Twickenham after an 11 game unbeaten run and Kerry Wood’s side will be determined to continue building in the right direction.
New boys Swansea
Swansea University will make their bow in BUCS Super Rugby this season. After finishing in South A behind Hartpury 2nds (who cannot earn promotion due to their 1st XV already competing in the top division) last year, the Welsh outfit defeated Newcastle University in the play-off semi-finals before securing a 32-28 victory over Nottingham Trent University to reach BUCS Super Rugby.
Great week of preseason for the lads. Great attitude and a lot of graft put in ????. pic.twitter.com/B3IDx9XycX— Swansea Uni RFC (@SwanseaUniRFC) August 10, 2019
Swansea’s arrival in the league means there will now be three universities from Wales in BUCS Super Rugby. Cardiff Met, once again, produced a solid campaign in 2018/19 under the stewardship of Danny Milton and Ian Gardner whilst city rivals Cardiff had a debut season to remember, finishing in eighth place ahead of Loughborough and the relegated Nottingham Trent.
It is sure to be another enthralling campaign of university rugby and you can find a full list of BUCS Super Rugby fixtures by clicking here.