The University of Leeds secured an historic Varsity win as the deservedly beat Leeds Beckett 20-9 in front of a record crowd at Headingley.
Beckett centre Dave Mcilwaine slotted over a penalty to open the scoring on four minutes, but Uni hit back and had the lead at the interval thanks to a break away try from Harry Jukes.
Mcilwaine nudged over two more penalties in the second period to put Beckett back in front, but a try from Will Byron and eight points from the boot of Luke White secured a memorable victory for Leeds University.
Leeds Uni, lost last year’s annual match 27-13 against Beckett, who will be competing in the division above in the 2016/17 season in the newly formed BUCS Super Rugby, the top tier of university rugby.
Uni didn’t have the ideal start this time around as Beckett dominated possession early on in Uni’s territory.
Mcilwaine, who played a pivotal role in Beckett’s win in this fixture last year, scored the first points of the match after Uni were penalised for being off their feet at the breakdown and the versatile back bisected the posts to give his side an early lead.
It was clear the occasion was getting to both sets of players during the first-half as an array of handling errors and disjointed set-pieces were being played out in front of 15,355 crowd packed into Headingley.
The game was cagey as both teams struggled to get a foothold in the match, but it was Uni who were able to spark the half into life with the first try of the game.
Beckett went for a chip and go inside the Uni 22 and Jukes was intelligent enough to incept the ball and run the length of the field to touch down just beside the posts to give Uni a 7-3 lead at the break.
Becektt found themselves in front once again in this contest midway through the second half only after Olly Hutson and Uni’s Joe Nellany were both sin-binned after an altercation on the touchline.
It was Mcilwaine with the boot that gave Beckett a narrow lead as he knocked over two quick fire penalties – one of which came from 45 meters out.
Uni turned to their bench for a boost and were rewarded minutes after Beckett had put themselves back in front as Byron darted over in the corner following a superb jinking run from replacement fly-half Luke White.
White added the extras to give Uni a six point lead with 15 minutes left and the Green and Whites were able to dictate the remainder of the game as Beckett failed to breach their defence.
Beckett were looking to fire back, but nothing was coming off for them and the final nail in the coffin came when White kicked over two penalties in the final four minutes to seal victory for Leeds Uni and send their supporters into raptures.
The inaugural BUCS Super Rugby League got underway this afternoon and week one contained some fantastic results and great drama.
Hartpury College came from behind to beat Durham 29-25 in the north-east while Cardiff Met got their Super Rugby campaign off to a flyer with a thumping 58-16 win over Northumbria. Alex Dombrandt, Ryan Roach, Tom Morgan, George Wacokecoke, Robbie Smith and George Simpson all scored tries for Chris Davey’s men.
But the main story from the first round of matches in BUCS Super Rugby League came in the Midlands as Loughborough beat Exeter 20-11 in front of a sell-out crowd. Loughborough lost to Exeter in dramatic fashion in last year’s BUCS Championship Trophy final at Twickenham, but they exacted revenge yesterday.
The boys in purple led 17-3 at half-time with tries coming from GB 7s player Sam Pointon as well as Charlie Dockery with seven points being kicked by Josh Sharp.
Exeter hit back with a try eight minutes after the break and then reduced Loughborough’s lead to just six points as they slotted over a penalty soon after. However, Dave Morris and Ciarian Beattie’s side held firm in defence and clinched the win as Will Edwards slotted over a penalty in the dying embers of this contest.
Loughborough Captain Isacc Green:
“I’m really chuffed with that. We said before the game that we wanted to get revenge for last year and so that was for everyone who’s been involved the last two years. There are still some bits to work on so we’ll come back stronger, but we’re just looking forward to kicking on with the season now.”
In the new look North A division, the University of Nottingham got off to a winning start as they comfortably beat Birmingham 31-14 while their city rivals Nottingham Trent went down 19-10 to Newcastle University. Elsewhere, Loughborough 2nds picked up from where they left off last season and secured a convincing 54-7 win over Bishop Burton College.
Despite defeat for their 1st XV, Exeter University’s 2nd team began with a victory in South A as they eased to a 52-18 win against King’s College London. Elsewhere in the division, Swansea University beat UWE 32-7, Bristol put in a solid display to come behind to claim victory over USW while Hartpury College 2nds won 22-14 against Cardiff University.
The University of Edinburgh had the bragging rights in North B last night as they beat varsity rivals St Andrews 29-7 in comfortable fashion while the University of Strathclyde came away from Worcester with a 21-12 victory. In South B, Cardiff Met 2nds matched their 1st XV with a comprehensive win as they beat St Mary’s 55-13. Other results in the division included a 24-5 win for Bath 2nds against Bristol 2nds.
In Northern 1A, The University of Hull got off to a perfect start with 19-3 victory against Newcastle 2nds while in the other fixture in this division; the University of Sheffield beat Lancaster 24-0. The University of Nottingham 2nds began their Midlands 1A campaign with a 31-19 win over Harper Adams and the University of Leicester beat Nottingham Trent 2nds 29-14 after a dominant first half display.
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