Exeter, Hartpury, Bath and Beckett progress after thrilling BUCS Super Rugby quarter-finals

Exeter, Hartpury, Bath and Leeds Beckett all advanced into the last four of the BUCS Super Rugby Championship play-offs after a brilliant quarter-final stage.

League champions Exeter left it late to defeat a spirited Cardiff University outfit and they will meet Leeds Beckett in the last four after the Yorkshire side stretched their unbeaten record to 10 matches against Cardiff Met University.

Kerry Wood’s men have not lost since December and the University of Bath are also carrying form into the semi-finals after a scintillating victory over Durham University on Wednesday night.

Aaron James’ side will face current BUCS Super Rugby Championship holders Hartpury following their win against Northumbria University at the Gillman’s Ground.

Below is a full round-up from BUCS Super Rugby as well as the Women’s Championship. Also, we review some of our selected leagues.

BUCS Super Rugby

University of Exeter 34-31 Cardiff University

A late penalty from Harry Bazalgette ensured the University of Exeter pipped Cardiff University to a semi-final place in the BUCS Super Rugby Championship play-offs.

The visitors did have the chance to level the game from the tee right at the death, but the Welsh side were unable to take their final opportunity in a pulsating contest.

Tries from Rory McMeikan, Andy Hamilton and Pierre Thompson gave the hosts a 17-10 half-time lead, with James Davies scoring for Cardiff in the first period.

The visitors were able to move in front as they scored twice in quick succession, but the next twist in this thrilling encounter saw Will Hollis stroll over to make it 24-24.

In the final quarter, Ben Phillips matched Cardiff’s fifth try of the afternoon as the game remained on a knife-edge, but the domestic champions had the final say as Bazalgette was able to keep his cool to send Exeter into the last four.

Leeds Beckett University 27-23 Cardiff Met University

Leeds Beckett edged their way into the BUCS Super Rugby Championship semi-finals after they extended their unbeaten run to 10 games against Cardiff Met University.

But Kerry Wood’s team did trail with 10 minutes to go before an excellent second score from Chester Duff sealed the victory.

Beckett led 15-13 at half-time after Duff and Will Lewin capitalised on a yellow-card shown to Met’s Andrew Nurse, but only after a slow start from the hosts.

Met had taken an early lead through Jac Arthur and the boot of Russell Bennett, but Beckett were able to extend their advantage shortly after the interval as Ben Dixon touched down by the posts.

In a cagey second period, Met retook the lead as another kick from Bennett was followed by a score from Nurse to make it 23-22.

Steff James attempted to restore Beckett’s advantage with a drop-goal but his effort sailed wide, however, the home side were able to complete the job as a free-flowing move was finished off by Duff to send the Yorkshire club into the last four.


Try-scorers Chester Duff and Will Lewin chatted to TRU

Hartpury University 26-19 Northumbria University

Hartpury University are one match away from a third consecutive Twickenham appearance as they overcame a battling Northumbria University in the BUCS Super Rugby Championship quarter-finals.

Robbie Smith gave the Gloucestershire side the lead after an excellent break from Joe Margetts, while Northumbria responded with a penalty.

Scrum-half Toby Venner scored to increase Hartpury’s lead, but the away side continued to stay in touch as they dotted down their first try of the evening.

Darren Fearn’s men were able to reduce the deficit to 14-13 with another three points before moving ahead for the first time in the contest thanks to two more penalties.

However, Jack Johnson and a fourth try for Hartpury sealed the victory for the current BUCS Super Rugby Championship holders.

University of Bath 64-29 Durham University

The University of Bath sent out a huge statement in the BUCS Super Rugby Championship quarter-finals following a 10-try win over Durham University.

The home side recovered from a slow start as scores from skipper Tom Doughty (2) and Austin Hay, as well as a penalty try, gave Bath a healthy 28-15 lead at the break.

Durham still had the hosts in their sights at half-time, but after the restart, Bath ran riot.

A superb Will Hughes score was followed by a hat-trick from Henry Hadfield and a brace from Will Partington as Bath eased into the semi-finals thanks to their sixth win on the spin.

The only negative for Aaron James’ side was an injury to Doughty just before half-time, so the Blue and Golds will have to see if the hooker will be fit for their last four clash against Hartpury next week.

In terms of Durham, their tries came via Saul Melvin Farr, Freddie Davies, Josh Wright and Myles Rawstron-Rudd on a tough evening for Alex Keay’s men.


Bath Head of Rugby Aaron James: “I am really pleased. You saw some of the best of us tonight. We have learnt to play boring, but there is a balance to our play! As other teams know, we have some good aspects of our driven play and our forward play, but to then run some points in from our own half is also good.

“We hadn’t beaten Durham till tonight and we turned that around. That’s a great milestone, but that doesn’t count for anything in the semi-finals. We beat Hartpury for the first time ever this season away from home so we are aware of the challenge. We will dust ourselves off and prepare for that.

On Doughty injury: “I don’t think it is too good. I think Tom has a shoulder issue and is off to hospital so that’s the saddest bit of the night.”

Man of the Match Will Partington: “The platform we set for ourselves was about being disciplined and that’s when we give ourselves the chances to get set piece tries and we scored about five or six set-piece tries.

“It [team bond] is outstanding. It makes it easier to get up at 7am for training! We are all saying it; we have never been happier than in a group like this. I have played in lots of teams and we all have, but we have got a real special culture at the moment and it makes things easier. We are picking up form at the right time and that is the importance of winning six games in a row.”

Elsewhere across BUCS

BUCS Championship – Women’s

Three of the four home sides all progressed in the BUCS Championship while Cardiff Met triumphed over Northumbria University on their travels.

Premier North champions Durham University beat the University of Bristol 27-0 to continue their excellent season while South title winners the University of Exeter ran out 67-5 winners against Loughborough University.

Exeter will face Cardiff Met in the semi-finals while Durham take on Hartpury University, who hammered the University of Edinburgh 40-10.

North B and South B – Men’s

The University of Manchester have clinched the North B title after a narrow 8-5 win over the University of Glasgow. The North-West outfit were able to pip the University of Sheffield to the league crown while elsewhere in the division, the University of Strathclyde concluded their campaign with a 36-12 win over the University of Stirling.

St Mary’s University completed their league season in style as the South B champions defeated Hartpury 3rds 47-24 to maintain their unbeaten home record. The only other fixture in the league saw the University of Portsmouth avoid finishing bottom of the division after an excellent 28-24 victory away at Reading University.

Northern 2A and 2B – Men’s

UCLAN we able to finish a tough campaign on a positive note as they secured their first win of the season against Manchester 2nds following a 15-12 victory. In Northern 2B, Leeds 2nds relegated rivals Leeds Beckett 4ths with a 53-22 win.

Midlands 1A – Men’s

The University of Leicester have won the league for the third consecutive year after clinching the Midlands 1A title against Loughborough 3rds. Leicester won 41-19 to conclude another brilliant season and now they will compete alongside the University of Aberdeen and Manchester Met for a place in second tier.

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