Last Wednesday, four of the best teams in U.K. university rugby union battled it out for the ultimate prize in university rugby – the National Championship.
On Wednesday 13th April, the BUCS Super Rugby and Women’s National League Finals took place to decide this year’s Rugby Union National Champions.
Featuring the players of the highest level of U.K. university Rugby Union, this year’s finals were played at Sixways Stadium, home to Premiership Rugby club Worcester Warriors.
The BUCS Super Rugby Final saw the recently crowned League Champions Durham take on Exeter, whilst Hartpury took on Edinburgh in the Women’s National League Final.
We take a look at the results from two incredible finals below.
Men’s BUCS Super Rugby Final
University of Exeter vs. Durham University
The BUCS Super Rugby National Championship Final featured the league’s top two teams, reigning champions Durham and their closest rivals Exeter.
Both teams were deadlocked throughout the season until a defeat in the final round for Exeter saw the league title go to Durham for the second season in a row.
As the all-time top try scorer in BUCS Super Rugby history, Durham captain Fred Davies looked to make history by leading his side to a League and Championship double over twice runner up, Exeter.
Despite a low scoring game, both teams fought hard and left everything on the field to produce a fantastic spectacle for the fans at Sixways Stadium.
A penalty kick from Durham’s Will Nicholson which opened the scoring on 9 minutes was followed by the first try of the game, scored by Exeter’s centre, Tom Hitchcock. A try from Durham’s Nick Jonas just before the half gave Durham a 10-7 lead going into the break.
In a fiercely contested second half, a second penalty kick from Durham’s Will Nicholson on the 67th minute gave Durham a 6 point lead.
But with less than 5 minutes to go, it was the eventual player of the match Dafydd Jenkins who scored the only try of half to seal the 2021-22 BUCS Super Rugby National Championship title for Exeter.
Final Score: Exeter 14 – 13 Durham
Women’s National League Championship Final
Hartpury University vs. University of Edinburgh
The 2022 BUCS Women’s National League final saw Edinburgh and Hartpury take centre stage at Sixways Stadium.
Both university sides are coached by international stars of the women’s game. Edinburgh Head Coach, Claire Cruikshank also takes charge of the Sweden Women’s Rugby team whilst first year Hartpury Coach, Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt has been capped over 50 times for England.
Testament to the talent on both sides, the top three try scorers in the WNL are from Edinburgh and Hartpury. Second on that list with 11 try’s this season is Scottish international Meryl Smith, who is also the top point scorer with 116 in the Women’s National League.
It took Meryl Smith, the league’s top point’s scorer, just four minutes to score the first try of the WNL National Championship Final. Despite Edinburgh’s strong start, Hartpury fought back to score two quick tries before a 35th minute try from Edinburgh’s Holly Mcintyre, taking the teams level (12-12) at halftime.
A second try for Meryl Smith and at the start of the second half was equalled by Hartpury’s Lowri Davies to keep the game close with Edinburgh leading 22-19.
However, a yellow card for Edinburgh star Meryl Smith on the 60th minute proved decisive as Hartpury took advantage of their opponents being down a player and took the lead four minutes later with a try from Amy Dale.
Hartpury continued their dominance with two more tries on the 68th and 76th minute to take the win 36-22 and become the BUCS Women’s National League National Champions for the first time in their history.
Final Result: Hartpury 36-22 Edinburgh
Wide range of opportunities to play rugby at a university in the U.K.
Although BUCS Super Rugby is highest level of Rugby Union in the U.K. University sport system, there are a wide range of opportunities for any student who wishes to compete alongside their degree.
With men’s and women’s teams competing weekly in a tiered league structure, players of all ability levels can experience rugby during their time in the U.K.
U.K. University Rugby Union
Learn more about U.K. University Rugby Union below.
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