Rugby round-up

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University of St Andrews RFC 1st XV stand undefeated in their BUCS season thus far and are sitting pretty at the top of the league with five wins from five games. Add in the historic win from the Scottish Varsity Match against Edinburgh and the 1st XV have won their opening six games of the season.

Starting with a hard fought win against Dundee just four days af­ter the bruising encounter with Edinburgh, Saints edged a physical match 13-8 with fresher Ludovic Meaby scoring the crucial try.

The team then went on the road for the next two games, winning against both Napier and Stirling where Saints were not at their dominating best but managed to do enough to win, coming out 26- 15 and 27-15 respectively.

The next two matches on the schedule were going to be the toughest of the season thus far. On numerous occasions Aberdeen had been the nemesis of the St Andrews rugby boys, but in the last few years Aberdeen has struggled to play against the men from the ol’ grey toon.

This year was no different with a dominating 34-10 win against last year’s BUCS champions with a performance that left many on the side-lines purring about the champagne rugby on show and the extremely impressive will to win witnessed.

Having to back up that huge performance the following week was going to be tough, especially when traveling to newly promoted Glasgow who had enjoyed a good start to the season. The monsoon conditions brought doubt to the outcome of the game, with The Saints being unable to unleash their trade mark running rugby. It was the tight grinding play of the for­wards that produced the win with their dominance at the scrum and contact point producing a 20-7 vic­tory that the players all took great heart from, knowing that it was the first half of the season completed and their top of the league position secured.

It has not all been good news for the 1st XV, however, with injuries stretching the squad to the very limit. At one stage over half of the rugby club were either injured or ill and this turned winning games in a competitive league, which is already a difficult task, into a mis­sion impossible. Thus far, how­ever, the 1st XV have shown guts, determination, a will to win and some sublime rugby, and go into the second half of the season with confidence.

The other teams in the club have had a mixed bag of results so far this season. The women’s team produced two great wins against arch-rivals Dundee and Glasgow but lost heavily to Edinburgh at home. The Edinburgh team, having come down a BUCS league after last year playing in Prem B against English opposition, still play at a very high level of performance. It is, of course, the goal to match these teams and it has been shown by other successes this season that St Andrews can more than match these teams on the field of play.

The 3rd XV was also stretched to breaking point with injuries but have recorded some wins and some losses. The distinctively ‘fresh’ look about the squad emphasises the fact that the learning process of these young players stepping up from school boy rugby into univer­sity rugby is something that usu­ally takes a while to get used to.

The next couple of weeks will be crucial for the team to get a couple of wins against other universities’ 2nd XVs in the league but playing a higher standard of team is crucial for the development of these young players.

It goes without saying that this has been an excellent and encour­aging start for the rugby club this season and each team can look for­ward to the remainder of the season with a great deal of confidence.

Credit must go to all the players for their dedication to the club and their efforts throughout the season so far, in particular the freshers for show­ing such

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