The University of Exeter's Fresh 1 Rugby Team took victory in the BUCS Trophy and Western 1A League.

Exeter 1st years take BUCS Rugby Trophy

The University of Exeter Men's Rugby Club’s Fresh first team have crowned a successful season with victory in the British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Trophy Final on 26 March.

On route to victory the side, made entirely of first year players, overcame some difficult competition, including teams who compete in the higher Premier B league.

After a convincing win over UWIC in the semi-final, all looked good as they headed to Surrey to take on Dundee in the final. 

Exeter started well with the majority of possession inside Dundee’s half.  The forwards were clearing out the ruck fiercely to allow Exeter’s number 9, Waltier, to provide some quick ball out to the backline. 

After a long passage of play it was a side step from Gavin Parker (15) and a creative finish that put Exeter on the score sheet.  Parker adding the extras with a brilliant 40 yard touch-line conversion.

It was Dundee to add to the score sheet next with a controversial penalty just outside the Exeter 22, which was calmly slotted through the uprights by the number 10. (Exeter 7-3 Dundee).

Exeter soon got a penalty of their own, with Ben Higgins (3) repeatedly buckling the opposition’s front row in the scrum.  Despite the superior pack size and weight this was to be the story for much of the match, with Exeter’s scrum looking dominant throughout.  Parker (15) stepped up and added 3 more points to his tally.

The next 10 minutes proved to be the biggest test for Exeter with wave after wave of Dundee attack putting pressure on the defence inside their 22.  The team’s maturity and discipline at this stage was second to none, with Exeter giving nothing away and eventually forcing a turnover and clearing their lines. 

After some good attacking play from Exeter, Matt Eliet (6) found himself in space on the wing and some quick movement of the ball from Charlie Skipwith (7), coupled with a scrambling defence from Dundee, allowed for Exeter’s Chris Swash (12), to fall over the try line for an easy try.  Parker once again adding the extras. (Exeter 17-3 Dundee)       

Another penalty in the final stages of the half meant Exeter went in with a 20-3 lead at half-time.

Exeter kept up the momentum early in the second half and were soon rewarded with a try.  A brilliant cross-field kick from James Doe (10) allowed for Ollie Thompson (14) to out jump the Dundee winger for the ball and stumble over the try line.

In scenes that mirrored the first half, Dundee managed to again raise their game and force Exeter back inside their half.  This time Dundee were rewarded with two tries in relatively quick succession, the extra points being added on one of them.  It was all to play for at: Exeter 27-15 Dundee.

After a static period in the game Exeter once again found themselves inside the oppositions 22.  A throw to the tail of the line out, and some fast play along the back line allowed Parker (15) to round his man and score the try. 

A late consolation try from Dundee edged them a little closer, the final score 32-20.

One of the University of Exeter’s , the rugby programme enjoys close links with Premier League side Exeter Chiefs and has seen a number of senior players receive international call-ups.

The club field’s two sides especially for new student players allowing them to quickly develop in competitive environment.

Victory in the BUCS Trophy ends excellent season for Fresh 1 who also took the top spot in the BUCS Western 1A League, earlier in the year.

Director of Rugby Keith Fleming said: “Fresh 1’s have been really impressive all season, they have learnt quickly and gelled really well as a side. 

“The team are improving week by week and have beaten some tough Premier B sides to get here.

“You have to remember that these boys are all first year students and they showed great character and maturity in the final. This trophy is a first for the club in this cup and it bodes well for the future of EURFC [University of Exeter Men’s Rugby Club]”.

Date: 4 April 2014