EURFC Celebrating Winning the BUCS Super Rugby League. Photo Credit BUCS.
EURFC Cement their Status as League Champions, with the Men's & Women's 1st XV's Top of the Pile
This week saw the BUCS Super Rugby Season end with the Green and White of Exeter proving themselves once more as the season-long powerhouse for rugby union in the country.
In what has been described as one of the toughest leagues in the game, with many student-athletes boasting international honours at junior level, premiership caps at their respective clubs and many of our students getting to train alongside some of the top internationals in the world, this years Men's competition, at times, has been too close to call but the Women's was never in doubt. The Women’s 1st XV went unbeaten all season, boasting a standout list of seasoned Tyrell’s Premiership Players from the Bristol Bears and young England Internationals it was no surprise that Jo Yapp's Women's 1st XV were crowned Premier South.
18 rounds of fixtures have separated Keith Fleming’s 1st XV from the rest of the 'wannabe' contenders. With no men’s team going unbeaten, and even the considered 'bottom end' of the league teams proving their worth on their given day, it was the University of Exeter that shone through to confirm, once again, that the BUCS Super Rugby League Trophy belongs in Exeter. Knock out competition is upon us and as Exeter are the standouts for Rugby Union in the United Kingdom and also current holders of last years Women's Championship Cup, all eyes are firmly on the Green Machine in the South West.
Director of Rugby Keith Fleming noted that “it is a relief and the boys used up all of their lives leaving the win to the last game of the season when it could have been won a couple of weeks ago… I am pleased now and we have worked hard to stay up at the top end of the league and to go back-to-back league champions is just rewards for our efforts”
Joe Byrne, Exeter Alumni (BA Economics & Geography), BUCS Super Rugby Commentator and Presenter of ‘The BUCS Stops Here’ podcast asked Keith “Was this good preparation for handling pressure leading into the playoffs?” Keith explains “I really hope so, the game that we just played left us with some serious work-on's and knock out rugby is exactly what it says on the tin, you make one mistake and you are out and we need to be at our best to compete against any team in this league...” Would you prefer to play Loughborough or Cardiff in the quarterfinals? “I don’t care who we have, if you are going to be the best you need to beat anyone that comes up in front of you, so I don’t care who is up in front of us”.
With the obvious lure of playing at Twickenham, Jack Rouse and 1st XV Captain George Gosling look towards the impending knockouts with confidence and ensures that it will be one game at a time looking at their own work on's before anything else.
Reflecting on the Women’s success last year Jo Yapp and her Women’s first XV have been setting the example all season within the Premier South league, going unbeaten and putting a firm mark down on their closest rivals Hartpury and Cardiff Met.
I asked Jo what her thoughts were on this season: “I am really proud of the players to win both leagues this season. I believe this success has come down to the effort and commitment that players and support staff have shown both on and off the field over the past few seasons. The Women’s programme has grown in numbers and this has created real depth across the two BUCS squads” When asked the same question as Keith and looking next to the knockouts, Jo’s response was as follows: “Knockouts are always tough as it is difficult to judge the strength of the northern league. We have Loughborough in the quarterfinals and they have a strong relationship with Tyrell’s Premiership Team Loughborough Lightening so we know they are going to be strong opposition… All we can do is focus on ourselves”
With EURFC dominating across the leagues we will all be watching with excitement as the cup competition starts in two weeks. The Men’s 1st XV will be playing Cardiff University once again as the University of Bath beat the University of Loughborough leaving them in 9th overall and without any points to take forward into the last 8 of the playoffs. The Women’s 1st XV will play the University of Loughborough at home which is sure to be a BIG Wednesday for both the Men’s and Women’s teams.
Written by James Fleming
Date: 8 March 2019