Rugby league feature

Rugby League Squad

'Exeter doesn't give walkovers'- Rugby League defy the odds

When Men's Rugby League 2's travelled to Brighton even the most loyal of club members had resigned themselves to the inevitable outcome. As the fixture had been rearranged many of the team were unavilable due to academic commitments, leaving nine players to go up against Brighton's seventeen man squad. The result? A resounding 42-26 victory.

BUCS rules dictate that a Rugby League team must have a minimum of nine players to avoid conceeding a walkover - something that Student Sport Manager Charlotte Raymont vows never to do. Half an hour before departure the ninth player was confirmed and the belief of the boys on the bus never waivered, all vowing to put everything into the game despite the odds being stacked against them.

The 42-26 victory was an unexpected but well deserved thanks to the try-scoring feats of Ben Rothwell and Peter Bilham. Two days later a rejuvenated and complete squad secured a 20-16 win against the University of South Wales, taking them through to the next round in the BUCS Trophy competition. Sadly a defeat by Cardiff Metropolitan in the semi-finals end their chances of lifting the trophy but the squad are justifiably proud of this season's successes.

The sucesses achieved epitomises the spirit of the club and the resilience of its members. Traditionally a sport of the northern heartlands, rugby league isn't a sport that is ordinarily associated with the South West. However Club numbers continue to grow along with player development and this season has seen results that far exceed expectation.

The 1st team had a disappointing start to the season but a win in their third game boosted confidence and the two games before the Christmas break brought convincing wins including a 44-4 victory over local rivals Bath who they had narrowly lost to earlier in the season. The Cup draw put them up against University of Hull, a side with a number of England Students players in the squad, and it required extra time for the game to be decided with Exeter losing by the narrowest of margins 18-19. Strong performances over the season saw Jack Elliss, Dom Brook and Alex Ford representing the South of England alongside students with semi-professional contracts and much more rugby league experience.

Each year the Rugby League Club secures more resources, increases its player base and continues to perform beyond expectation. While we are a long away from the sport becoming synonymous with Exeter,  Men's Rugby League is certainly a sport and club that is on the up!

Date: 13 March 2018

Read more University News