- Leeds Metropolitan take on Cardiff Metropolitan in BUCS women’s final
- Leeds attempting the double with both their men and women in the finals
This year’s BUCS women’s final (March 28, kick-off 5pm) will see Leeds Metropolitan take on Cardiff Metropolitan in what promises to be a fascinating encounter between the two sides. The women will be hoping that they can set Leeds off on the way to the double before the men play UWE Hartpury in the second final of the night.
Leeds Metropolitan Women compete in the Premier North Division and secured victories in nine of their ten league fixtures this season, finishing top of the table on 42 points. Their only defeat of the season came against the Durham University 1st XV, who finished second in the league. In six of their matches Leeds Metropolitan didn’t concede a single point, and their highest margin of victory was against the University of Birmingham 1st XV, a match they won by 128-0.
In the knockout stages of the BUCS Rugby Championship they received a bye in the last 16, which put them straight through to the quarter-finals. This stage of the competition saw them win against the University of Oxford in impressive style, scoring 15 tries to win 86-0. In their semi-final they beat last year’s champions Exeter University 43-12 to secure their fifth appearance in Twickenham in the past six seasons.
Looking back at their run in the BUCS championship, Leeds’ first appearance in the final at Twickenham saw them lose to their Cardiff Metropolitan (formerly UWIC), and this was followed by a further defeat in the final to Cardiff Metropolitan in 2010. However, they went on to lift the Cup in 2011 by defeating the University of Exeter 34-5.
Since this victory, Leeds Metropolitan have made one further appearance in the final (2012) but once again, Cardiff Metropolitan were victorious by 30-5. Having failed to reach the final last year, Leeds Metropolitan will be hoping that their return to Twickenham will be successful and that the BUCS Rugby Championship Cup will be heading north again.
Looking ahead to the final, former Leeds Metropolitan player and current England International Emily Scarratt believes that the experience in their ranks will be really important on the day, but recognises that Cardiff Metropolitan will provide a tough challenge to her former university.
“They’ve (Cardiff Metropolitan) got a fairly stacked team it’s fair to say, but with the likes of Claire Garner and Sarah Clough who have been around a long time, Leeds Metropolitan have a lot of experience. They will just have to use all of their experience in what will certainly be a very difficult game. It should be a good spectacle for women’s rugby!”
Cardiff Metropolitan compete in the Premier South Division and secured victories in all nine of their league fixtures this season. This put them top of the league table on 45 points despite their match with the University of Gloucestershire not taking place. Their largest margin of victory was 98-0 against the University of Oxford and they didn’t concede a point in five of their nine league outings.
The knockout stages of the Championship saw them receive a bye into the quarter-finals where they faced the University of Newcastle. Their 92-5 victory in this fixture ensured that they once again progressed to the semi-finals, with just one more victory required to secure their place at Twickenham. Their opponents in this semi final fixture were the University of Gloucestershire, and a 43-12 victory confirmed their place in this season’s final.
Since the women’s competition began in 1985, Cardiff Metropolitan have won the Championship seven times, starting in 2002, with their most recent victory coming in 2012 when they defeated their opposition this year, Leeds Metropolitan, 30-5. From 2006 to 2010, UWIC secured five consecutive victories in the Cup final at Twickenham, a feat that had not been achieved previously by any other men’s or women’s side in BUCS rugby history.
Speaking ahead of the Twickenham showdown Cardiff Metropolitan prop Sasha Acheson, who made her debut for England back in November, is really looking forward to the final and says that Leeds Metropolitan will be strong opposition.
“I am really excited about another Cardiff Metropolitan v Leeds Metropolitan final, as it's how it always used to be in years gone by, so in my final year it's exciting that it's another north-south showdown!
“Leeds Metropolitan always prove to be very physical, with pace out wide, and they are a team who always provide a lot of talent and prove a really good match for our girls.”