BUCS Double-Header: Champions Hartpury defeat stubborn Cardiff Met to go three from three

Kingsholm was the venue for a double-header of university rugby action between Hartpury and Cardiff Met

Hartpury University maintained their 100 per cent start to the BUCS National League season with a hard-fought 29-14 victory against Cardiff Met in testing weather conditions at Kingsholm.

Lucia Scott, Emma Sing and Amy Dale all dotted down in the first period for the champions but a resilient Archers side hit back before the break through Danai Mugabe.

A physical Met outfit were unlocked 10 minutes after the restart as Dale rumbled over as the harsh rain continued to fall.

However, Hartpury were able to stitch together a free-flowing move as Pip Hendy finished off a neat passage of play to ultimately complete the win before the Archers' defensive work was rewarded with their second try of the day via Emily Joyce.

Both sides entered this historic double-header in the West Country with two wins from two, but under the lights at Kingsholm, Mo Hunt's Gloucester-Hartpury contingent provided the creative spark in the opening 40 with Player of the Match from last year's final, Jordan Russell, setting the tone with some strong carries.

Dale's early running lines and power up front looked like the most fruitful avenue for the current champions to get on the board but after passing up a few chances to spread the ball wide from their driving maul, the ball was finally flung to Scott who touched down in the corner after 12 minutes.

A mazy run from lock Lola Whitley ignited the second try for Hartpury which ended in England international Sing darting over as the BNL championship holders started to find their groove.

Despite conceding two scores, Met coach Lisa Newton couldn't fault the work rate of her charges in defence as they frustrated Hartpury on multiple occasions but after a move which began with a weaving jaunt by fly-half Charlie-Mai Manns, Dale - who scored a hat-trick in last year's final - finally got over.

The game had mainly taken place in the Met half, but the Archers' first venture into Hartpury territory led to a score via No.8 Mugabe following a surging burst from Sophie Richards.

As the rain worsened, Hartpury went to the driving maul once again and Dale crossed the whitewash to stretch their lead on 50 minutes.

The pattern of the first half - where the champions dominated possession and territory - continued but the slippery conditions, combined with excellent defence from Met, stopped Hartpury from hammering home their advantage.

But with both sets of supporters settling in for the evening, a slice of quality from Hartpury ended with centre Hendry scooting over after a slick move.

Cardiff Met's endeavour in Gloucester deserved more than just the one try and with eight minutes remaining, the Archers turned their first attacking move of the second period into another score as Joyce dived under the sticks.

In the end, it was too little too late to stage a remarkable fightback but as Hartpury continued their winning start to go top of the BUCS National League standings, Cardiff Met will take plenty of positives from this defeat against the champions.