Swansea reclaims Varsity title

Swansea University 16 – 12 Cardiff University

In a closely fought, often tense, encounter at the Liberty Stadium last night (28 April 2010), Swansea University’s men’s rugby team won the Welsh Varsity Rugby Match, beating their Cardiff University rivals by 16 points to 12.

The Virgin Media Varsity Trophy was presented to the team by Roger Lewis, Group Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, Warren Gatland, the WRU’s Head Coach, and Swansea University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard B Davies.

An estimated 9,000 students, as well hundreds of representatives from the worlds of industry, higher education, sport, and the public sector, packed into the stadium to enjoy one of Wales’ great sporting rivalries, create an atmosphere that many professional matches at the ground have failed to match, even though the game remained scoreless for much of the first half. However, Cardiff took the lead with an unconverted try scored shortly before half-time.

Two penalties early on in the second half gave Swansea a 6-5 lead, before Cardiff scored again to lead 6-12. Swansea increased their pressure on the Cardiff defence, resulting in a converted try after 70 minutes. Cardiff then conceded a penalty minutes later, and Swansea stretched their lead to 16-12.

With seconds remaining on the clock, Cardiff mounted a series of sustained attacks on the Swansea line, and managed to keep the ball in play for a full eight minutes after normal time. Swansea’s spirited and, at times, desperate defence prevailed against the onslaught until Cardiff infringed and the referee, Nigel Owens, blew for full-time.

Swansea’s captain, Kerry O’Sullivan (pictured), was delighted with the result. He said: “This has to be one of the best feelings in the world. We’ve been playing in the British Universities and Colleges Sport Premier League for the first time this year, but I wouldn’t trade this moment for any part of our season. It’s been brilliant; a real honour to lead this team, and just fantastic to be bringing the trophy back to Swansea.

“Fair play to Cardiff, they’re a tough team to beat and they gave us a few problems. They played well, but in the end I think we had the edge, and the team came through.

“This was the first time that we have held the Varsity at the Liberty Stadium, and I’d like to thank everyone involved in making it an occasion to remember. I’d particularly like to thank all the students from Cardiff and Swansea Universities for their good-natured support, as well as the people of Swansea for their goodwill during the build-up to the event, and on the day itself.”

Richard Lancaster, Head Coach of the Swansea team and General Manager of the University’s Athletic Union, said: “The Welsh Varsity is a superb example of how the student community can come together to show support for their universities and pride in cities they study in. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust and Sport Relief, so the students who support the Varsity are also helping these two very worthwhile causes.

“It is always such a special occasion, and there’s so much pressure on the teams to deliver for their universities, but it was an incredible evening, and I’m really pleased with the way the team played. Watching them lift the trophy is a moment I’ll always look back on with great pride.

“Cardiff took the game to us from the outset, and they gave us a good match. They definitely made us work for our win. And the atmosphere in the stadium was electric – you really can’t ask for much more from a match like this.”

Professor Richard B Davies said: “Tonight, Swansea and Cardiff Universities’ rugby teams have helped to create memories that will last a lifetime. I congratulate both teams for a truly exciting game of rugby, and I am delighted that the Virgin Media Varsity Trophy is returning to Swansea after a two-year absence.”

The Accenture Plc Man of the Match award was presented by Nigel Owens to Swansea University’s scrum-half, Aled Lewis.

, ,

Leave a Reply