Loughborough University
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30 April 2009 | PR 09/46

Half century score sees Loughborough beat Bath in Real Varsity fifth year running

A Loughborough rugby side superior in both fitness and skill dominated University rivals Bath to win the fifth annual Real Varsity match  51-17 at Bath Rugby’s Recreation Ground on Tuesday 28 April.

The win takes Loughborough’s impressive tally to five consecutive victories and a clean sheet against their South West opponents since the competition began in 2005. 

“The guys were amazing,” said head coach Dave Morris. “I’m really pleased with their performance, which reflected the hard work they’ve been doing all season.  I’m delighted for the players, it’s a big credit to them.”

“We always go into these matches as favourites which brings its own pressure. But Bath are a good, proud team so we knew they were going to put up a fight.”

Bath opened the scoring with an early penalty under the posts, but Loughborough replied almost immediately through winger Dave Vincent, who powered through a string of tacklers to cross the line for his team’s first of seven tries. England Students supremo Grant Pointer converted to bring the score to 7-3.

Minutes later Jack Bird, on the opposite wing, provided support to yet another Loughborough attack and was duly rewarded when he charged through the defence to increase Loughborough’s lead to 12-3.  

It was a full team effort for Loughborough as their relentless forwards continued to make ground, working tirelessly at the breakdown to secure the ball.  After battering ram Phil Burgess’ first foray into the Bath 22m ended in a missed penalty, the number eight bounced back for a storming sprint from his own half, outpacing Bath’s backline to touch in the corner.  Pointer converted the difficult kick to lead 19-3.

With 10 minutes to go, it was Bath’s turn for glory and persistence at the line paid of as the forwards fell over for a try.  They converted the score to close the gap to 19-10.

Bath gifted Loughborough their next points with a penalty in range of the posts.  The usually prolific Pointer, who had mixed success at goal this match, scored to edge to 22-10.  In the last play of the half the full back added a second penalty to raise the score to 25-10 by the break.

Revived from the 15-minute rest, the home side returned hard and fast and put Loughborough under early pressure.  Winger Vincent performed a try saving hit in the opening minutes which was followed by a series of fierce tackles to keep Bath at bay.

Loughborough quickly resumed composure in attack and a sneaky move off the back of the scrum sent them way into the opposition 22m.  The ball crossed the pitch left to right and a strong forward effort saw them over the line, but Bath managed to keep them off the ground.

A second scrum made the difference and a half-pitch overlap was opened up, helping full back Pointer ease Loughborough’s first try of the half.  He converted his own score as Loughborough leapt to 32-10.

The leaders rallied in the final 15 minutes to add a further three tries to their impressive tally. Replacement winger Pete Smith crossed once and Bird completed a hat trick. England Student Paul Trendell came off the bench to convert two of his three shots at goal and help his team surpass the half century mark to delight director of rugby Alan Buzza.

Loughborough’s ladies were less fortunate as a Bath side, apparently boosted by a number of experienced graduates, dominated the match for a 26-0 scoreline.

Bath set up their stall early with a converted try within minutes of the whistle, but scrappy hands on both sides and missed opportunities from the Somerset team made for a stalemate for most of the half.

Loughborough struggled to break the drifting Bath defence and despite a handful of blistering runs, couldn’t quite cross the line.  Frustration set in as the visitors failed to make the most of some evident overlaps, but a strong defensive effort against a much bigger side kept them in the game.

In the dying moments of the half the powerful Bath eight spotted a mismatch and steamrolled through to score under the posts and take a 14-0 lead at the break.

Loughborough’s defence stayed strong into the second half - a last minute tackle on the thickset flanker denying Bath an early score. But the home side soon made amends and a mismatch on the line saw them flatten their opponents for seven easy points.

Loughborough made up in defence the desire they lacked in attack, and a stalwart effort from the team resisted the persistent Bath charge.  But a yellow card in the final 15 minutes sealed the students’ fate and a move off the resulting penalty saw the mammoth full back cross the line for an unconverted try.

A late Loughborough comeback wasn’t enough, leaving the score 26-0 at the final whistle.  

Loughborough’s men are back in big match action in just two weeks’ time when they take on England U20 on the University campus. For tickets and more information log onto www.loughboroughrugby.com  

–ENDS–

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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