Exeter plough through to the BUCS Rugby Championship Final
Exceptional second half display sends Exeter to Twickenham
University of Exeter Men’s Rugby 1s defeated Loughborough 51-28 in the 2016/17 BUCS Rugby Championship Semi-Final, with a magnificent second-half display at Topsham Sports Ground.
After a slow start, which saw Loughborough’s winger go over in the corner from a clever set-piece, Exeter responded well and soon found themselves adding points to the scoreboard. Loughborough’s hooker failed to roll away in the tackle and Landray converted the 3 points in front of the posts, 3-7.
From the restart, Exeter were on the front foot. A long kick from Landray saw the ball bounce for Skinner to dive on top of the ball and regain possession. The resulting phases from the forwards were rewarded when Exeter’s winger, Warne, crossed the line for the try.
Tries continued to be traded between the teams for the rest of the half with McCrae showing a great turn of pace to race through, whilst Lawday went over at the tail of the maul with a minute left, to add to his impressive season try tally – levelling the scores at 21-21 heading into the break.
The second half continued at a frantic pace. A silly error in the ruck allowed Landray the opportunity to put Exeter back in front for the second time in the match, which was duly converted. From the restart, Bagwell released Mcrae on the hard line who powered through for his second try of the match. Landray adding the conversion and taking the score to 31-21.
Loughborough were beginning to tire. A couple of mistakes coming from kicks saw Exeter maintain field position and keep the pressure on the visitors. A line out allowed Exeter to set up the driving maul and the home side were once again rewarded with the try, Lawday putting the ball down for his second of the game and Landray adding the extras.
A penalty try put Loughborough back in the game with 20 minutes left to play. However, Exeter responded immediately with a quick tap and go, catching the defence sleeping and Lawday cruised over for an easy third try. Further mistakes in the Loughborough game were enough to keep the visitors out of reach. Jack Owlett was next to be rewarded as the Exeter prop peeled off the maul and drove in at the corner, 48-28.
With the contest nearly over, Landray slotted the ball through the posts to make it a 50 point game and bring a close to the match, 51-28.
Exeter will now face Hartpury in the Final at Twickenham on Thursday 30 March, with a chance to retain their 2016 BUCS Championship title. The match kicks off at 17:30 with tickets costing £5 for adults, which can be purchased here.
1 Elliot Roofe, 2 Callum Young, 3 Jack Owlett, 4 Simon Linsell (C), 5 Sam Skinner, 6 James McRae, 7 Matt Eliet, 8 Tom Lawday, 9 Aaron Bagwell, 10 Ted Landray, 11 Ned Warne, 12 Chris Swash, 13 Tom Holdsworth, 14 Dom Thorne, 15 Charlie Wicks
Exeter: Warne (16”), McRae (29”, 51”), Lawday (40”, 56”, 63”), Owlett (69”)
Date: 17 March 2017