- Durham University crowned BUCS champions for second time in three years
- Close-fought match against Cardiff Met played in freezing conditions
Durham University 26 Cardiff Metropolitan University 17
Twickenham Stadium welcomed Durham University, returning to the Home of England Rugby for their third appearance and Cardiff Metropolitan University their second in three years, as the two teams squared up in a rematch of the dramatic 2011 BUCS final when Durham broke Cardiff Met hearts with a last-minute penalty.
This time sub-zero temperatures and snow awaited both teams at Twickenham, but it did little to stop both teams putting on a fantastic showcase not just of student rugby but rugby in general.
Two years on, it was again disappointment for the men from Wales as Josh Beaumont, son of Bill Beaumont – England and Lions captain – lead his Durham team to their second trophy in three years, repeating the undefeated season of 2011.
“At the start of the season we lost a lot of players and people started writing us off but we knew we had a good team and we’ve worked really hard for each other throughout the year. It showed out there today like it did in the semi- and quarter-final matches. Now we've gone the season undefeated and are BUCS champions again.”
It was Durham who started the match showing the greatest intent and following a good period of possession they were rewarded with the first score of the game.
Durham full back Simon Hammersley, starting outside the 22, weaved through the Cardiff Met back line, dodging and bouncing off tackles before diving over the line to score a great individual try. The resulting conversion was expertly dispatched between the uprights by Dave Treglown.
Durham threatened to add to their points tally shortly after, being stopped just short of the try line on two occasions before Cardiff Met registered their first points. An excellent cross-field kick was collected by Pierre Tucker, who beat one tackle and drew another before offloading to Guy Wood, who outpaced the scampering Durham backs to make the score 7-5.
Despite missing the conversion, Cardiff Met took the initiative and twice opened up the Durham back line only to be called back by the officials. First Rhodri Davies was adjudged to have stepped in touch after racing down the touchline, then much to the frustration of the Cardiff Met support a great passing move sent Tucker racing into the try area unchallenged only to be called back for a forward pass. As it was, a penalty from Treglown made the score 10-5 at half time.
The second half began with both teams exchanging penalties before Jack Pattinson crashed over for Durham’s second try of the game. The successful conversion opened up a 12-point gap leaving Cardiff Met with it all to do. They responded with a good period of possession, adding six points from the boot of Matt O’Brien.
Another penalty from in front of the posts gave Cardiff Met hope, reducing the difference to just six points but within moments Treglown was given the opportunity to put the game beyond doubt. His penalty kick sailed between the posts much to the delight of the Durham fans.
Cardiff Met continued to push forward looking for a way back but Durham’s defence stood firm and as the final whistle sounded it was drowned out by the chorus of celebration from the Durham support.
After the game Durham captain Josh Beaumont, who had been forced off with injury with a little over five minutes remaining, spoke of his pride at what Durham had achieved.
“Winning two BUCS Championships in three years is unbelievable, especially for the lads that have been in all three finals. When the ball is being spread around like that today it’s a great game to be a part of, and great to watch. I think in the end the difference was that we played a bit more rugby and showed a bit more adventure in our play. We looked sharp when we had the ball and made plenty of metres but also we defended really well when we had to.
Reflecting on Treglown’s excellent goal kicking that kept the game out of the reach of Cardiff Met, Beaumont commented: “He has been like that all season, he's great to have in the team. It makes a big difference when you've got a boot that can keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Next season I'm looking forward to playing for Sale Sharks but it's going be tough to better this; I've had a great three years at Durham winning two BUCS Championships, it’s been unbelievable”.