Varsity Champions 2012: Men’s Rugby XV Uni 27 – 11 Met
The culmination of this year’s Varsity at the Headingly stadium could not have been more tense. Shortly before kick-off the stadium announce declared that with five results still left to come the score 28 to 28. We all knew this match was going to matter.
Met took the kick off and the Uni side wasted no time in showing how much of a dominant force they were going to be up front. It wasn’t long before the pressure was too much for the Met side and they started giving away penalties.
The Gryphons failed to capitalise on these early gains as the wet ball played havoc with the backs hands. The Uni side also showed how they were equally capable of giving away penalties as the away team got their first chance at three points, but failed to achieve it.
As the game started to pick up the pace the Gryphons set themselves up as the dominant force on the pitch, few of the Met players could really pierce their defensive line forcing them to adopt a kicking game to try and force errors in the rain.
First blood was drawn at 14 minutes in when the home team advantage of a nicely placed penalty and TWELVE sent the ball sailing through the posts giving Uni the lead they wanted.
The home team didn’t stop applying the pressure to the Met. This tactic bore fruit once more as TWELVE was able to send another penalty straight between the posts, making the score 6-0.
As the first half drew to a close the Met team began to find their legs. They begin a hugely aggressive campaign of forcing their way down the pitch with their forwards before finally slinging it out wide to their winger who crosses the try line and after a nail biting few seconds the try is give, 6-5 to the Uni.
Eager to remain the clear leaders at the half the Gryphons wasted no time in getting a try of their with FOUR bursting out of the pack after a well placed scrum making the score 13-5 at the half.
The pace didn’t drop at all as the players returned for the second half, both giving it everything they had in attack and both suffering from the pressures of defence, giving away silly penalties.
The highlight of this came as the Uni side was pushing had on the Met five meter and after continued fouls and penalties by the Met a penalty try was awarded in the 48th minutes, converted beautifully by TWELVE.
The Met did not relent in their attack and it was obvious that the Gryphons could feel the pressure this important match on them and this lead to more penalties as they defended, Met choosing to take the three points and making the score 20-11 with 18 minutes to go.
With the match definitely not over yet Hugh Gumbs decided it was time the home team felt the benefit of fresh legs making a number of substitutions giving Uni the edge they needed to really secure victory,
The highlight of this came in the 68th minute as Ben Holden broke free of the pack and came crashing over the line to score another try for the home team making the score 27-11.
Although Met continued to fight hard and set themselves up well in the Gryphons half they failed to score again and the match ended with and incredible roar from the Uni fans, this result securing them a draw in the overall Varsity competition.
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said “the University deserved to win, they were dominant upfront and that really gave them the edge”, which is hefty praise for a University side. However Hugh Gumbs did warn that Met was a “young side who could really improve’ so next year may be a bit closer.
Author: Nick Gandy