After getting their BUCS Super Rugby campaign underway last week to a winning start against last year’s champions Exeter, Loughborough took on Durham in their second game of the new season. Durham narrowly lost to Hartpury College last week, so the question was, could they stop the home team’s winning campaign before it had even really begun?
The game kicked off at 6:30pm and by this time the light rain had begun to fall, making the pitch very greasy due to the recent dry spell. This would prove to be costly for both teams as numerous penalties were given away at the scrum and the breakdown by both sides. In the first half Loughborough appeared to be very dominant, racking up the points as they went and keeping the visitors at bay. The second half proved to be more of a test for the team in white as Durham ramped up their physicality however Loughborough managed to run away with the game.
From the kick off both teams looked eager to get started however a costly mistake from the visitors saw Loughborough up by three points early on. Soon after, Durham pressurised Loughborough into making a mistake of their own taking the score to 3 points apiece. Durham continued to attack but Loughborough’s defence was impenetrable and the ball was soon turned over.
After a number of phases taken up by the forwards, a fancy display of attacking work from Loughborough’s backline saw them surge up the pitch. A key player in last week’s win over Exeter, Jack Stapley finished off the attack with the home team’s first try. The conversion was made by winger Will Kaye.
In both attacking and defensive play Loughborough seemed to dominate. Phenomenal running from Richie Lewis and Brendon Mandivenga as well as crunching tackles from Joss Morgan were a great example of this throughout the first half. Durham on the other hand seemed to struggle with the execution of their attacking play but gave a valiant effort in defence.
The last play of the half saw Durham give away a penalty for offside and Loughborough’s Will Kaye took a chance at goal. As it sailed easily through the posts, the whistle blew for half time.
Loughborough 13- 3 Durham
The second half got off to a fantastic start for Loughborough as two minutes in the home side were on Durham’s 5m line. From there, a nicely angled run from Mark Dixon three minutes later saw the home team score their second try of the game. The conversion from Kaye set the home side 17 point clear.
From the restart, Durham made their way into Loughborough’s half and a penalty allowed them to marginally pull back the score. From this point on, the visitors had much of the possession and territory and looked a real threat to Loughborough try line but these efforts went unrewarded.
Morgan’s charge into Durham’s half from his own 22 gave the team in white another chance to attack. After numerous phases of play, a textbook dummy pass from Brendon Mandivenga saw him over the line. Kaye converted. Not ten minutes later, another try was scored from a driving maul seeing the home side 26 points up on their opponents.
Durham’s biggest highlight came in the last ten minutes of the match which demonstrated their determination and perseverance throughout. A chip over the top from Rory Hardman and a lucky bounce saw replacement Ali Neden go over the line for Durham’s first and only try of the game. The conversion was also made.
However, it was Loughborough with the last say and responded to Durham’s score with one of their own. A good running line from Max Hill lead to the try and Kaye put it through the posts leaving less than sixty seconds until the final whistle.
The last minute was scrappy but as the final whistle blew the home crowd and players rejoiced. Loughborough walked away with another victory in their BUCS Super Rugby campaign, making it two wins from two, whereas Durham are going into next week still hunting their first victory.
Full time: Loughborough 39- 13 Durham
Post-match forwards coach George Chuter said: “It was a very good display to back up a big win last week but there is still lots to work on. There were some very promising debuts from a number of players in their first BUCS 1 match”.
Loughborough Students RFC
- Ben Christie 2. Freddie Davison 3. George Davis 4. Will Morrison 5. Will Elt 6. Max Hill 7. Daniel Moolman 8. Joss Morgan 9. Jack Moates (C) 10. David Buck 11. Jack Stapley 12. Joe Doyle 13. Richie Lewis 14. Will Kaye 15. Brendon Mandivenga Replacements: 16. Callum Lynch 17. Joe Cave 18. James Page 19. Sydney Blackmore 20. Will Foster 21. Cam Dobinson 22. Mark Dixon
Durham University RFC
- Adam Brocklebank 2. Jack Beazer 3. Nathaniel Opedo 4. Jack Heeney 5. Ed Varney 6. Will Hyde 7. Brodie Wilson 8. Buchan Richardson (c) 10. Nathan Holmes 11. Rory Hardman 12. Sam Moncur 13. Tom McLean 14. Rob Stevenson 15. Tristan Rawcliffe Replacements: 16. Diogo Ferrasse 17. Gabriel Ames 18. Justin Clegg 19. Ethan Harbinson 20. George Hairs 21. Henry Slater 22. Ali Neden