The winning women's  Exeter squad: Anne-Lise Torode, Sophie Gummer, Erica Mills, Harriet Hewitt, Becky Roby, Christabelle Blanch, Gemma Rowland, Helen Kukor, Jenna Waddy, Kat Wynne-Ellis, Okite Ahewehevu, Kat McGinigle: photo Gary Bray / UNiCOM

Women's rugby champions of Europe

University of Exeter women's rugby team were crowned champions of Europe after they beat French team Lille in the final of the European Students Rugby Sevens Championships held at Bristol University in June.

Exeter defeated the reigning champions 29-24 in a thrilling final. Kat McGonigle, Helen Kukor, Gemma Rowland, Okite Ahewehevu and Jenna Waddy touched down for tries and McGonigle added two conversions.  Gemma Rowland a University of Exeter Sports Scholar and England Under 20 star also finished the tournament as highest scorer, having amassed an impressive personal total of 55 points.

The Exeter students had beaten Brunel (West London) 29-5, hosts Bristol 26-0, Lille 17-0 and Coimbra (Portugal) 31-0 on their way to the final.

University of Exeter's Director of Rugby, Mark Tomlinson said: "There was fantastic team spirit shown over the two long, hot days.  Our success was built on solid defence, great commitment, high fitness levels and the fact that the players enjoy their rugby. We are still training at the university and over the past couple of months have trained specifically with Sevens in mind.

“I would also extend special thanks to coaches John Jakeman and Andy Vickers for all their hard work which has seen out of the squad of 12 players at Bristol, 9 scoring tries which is testament to the all round style of play the players employ”.                   

In the men’s competition, reigning British Universities and Colleges Sport champions Exeter were defeated by Loughborough 24-19 after extra time in the final of plate.

Date: 1 July 2009