University of Edinburgh claim double victory for third consecutive year
The University of Edinburgh showed their dominance against the University of St Andrews as they retained the Royal Bank Scottish Varsity title in both the men's and women's contests for the third consecutive year.
University of Edinburgh Women v University of St Andrews Women
The University of Edinburgh once again claimed silverware in this afternoon’s Royal Bank Scottish Varsity match as they put the University of St Andrews to the sword, scoring eight tries in an accomplished performance at BT Murrayfield.
Eventual Keri Holdsworth Player of the Match, Meryl Smith, was the star of the show as she grabbed a first-half brace to catapult her side into a dominant 40-0 lead at the break.
In a more evenly contested second period, both sides struggled to convert clear cut chances into points, but Edinburgh eventually pulled away further following late scores from Sarah Denholm and replacement Laura Keay.
Keri Holdsworth Player of the Match, Smith, said: “The first-half was really good. We did exactly what we set to do – hit up in the middle and play the ball into the wide channels.
“It took us a while to get going in the second-half, but we eventually pulled away and it was really pleasing to see that attacking brand of rugby that we really try to play at Edinburgh.”
With both side defending well in the opening stages, it was Edinburgh University who eventually drew first blood with the opening score arriving through Sally Stott.
With the St Andrews defence back-pedalling, the abrasive No.8 hit a short line to drive over for the simple score. Centre Meryl Smith added the extras. (7-0)
Edinburgh University soon doubled their advantage and it was Smith’s centre partner, Ciara McCulloch, who was able grab the decisive score. With numbers lining up wide, the capital side were able to work it through the hands and McCulloch was on hand to dot down. Smith converted. (14-0)
Having nailed both conversions, Smith would soon turn on the style in the loose. After securing the ball straight from kick-off, the centre accelerated through the gears to score a magnificent solo effort – which she then converted to make it 21-0.
With Smith adding the finishing touches to Edinburgh University’s fourth try of the afternoon, the capital outfit soon made it 33-0 as back-row Evie Gallagher bulldozed her way over from short distance.
Refusing to take their foot off the gas pedal, Stott grabbed her second and Edinburgh’s sixth of the day on the stroke of half-time. Smith slotted home the resulting conversion to make it 40-0 at the break.
HALF-TIME: University of Edinburgh 40-0 University of St Andrews
St Andrews began the second period fired up and through a series of nifty handling attacks, they were able to advance the ball deep into Edinburgh territory.
With ten minutes played in the second-half, it remained scoreless and with St Andrews defending noticeably more compact, the capital side were struggling to make any headway in attack.
St Andrews continued to prod in attack, however it was Edinburgh who eventually grabbed the first points of the second-half. With Gallagher breaking from her own half, the blindside flanker was able to bulldoze through several attempted tackles before offloading to Sarah Denholm who cantered over with ease. Captain Rachel Law added the extras. (47-0).
With replacement Laura Keay adding her side’s eighth try of the afternoon, Edinburgh wrapped up a comfortable win to secure the silverware. (52-0)
FULL-TIME: University of Edinburgh 52-0 University of St Andrews
University of Edinburgh: Emily Flavell; Beatrice Phillips, Ciara McCulloch, Meryl Smith, Jess McClintick; Sarah Denholm, Rachel Law CAPTAIN; Panashe Muzambe, Anne Young, Emma Dunbar, Nicola Howat, Robin Arends, Evie Gallagher, Tayla Hammond, Sally Stott.
Replacements: Elliann Clarke, Sarah Donnelly, Alison Glass, Kaeli King, Eva Donaldson, Lindsay Maguire, Laura Keay
University of St Andrews: Seamus Parratt; Amy Horsey, Phoebe Drew, Sian McGuinness, Izzy Clark; Emily Jones, Izzy Ward; Beth Tappenden CAPTAIN, Eilidh Sword, Kaitie Golub, Scarlett Neill, Miriam Woods, Alice Smith, Abby Fryer, Mhairi Falconer.
Replacements: Katie Roberts, Lucie Duffy, Hannah Kerr, Yoricka Smolikova, Madeleine Wanklyn, Robyn Dunne
University of Edinburgh:
Tries: Stott (2), McCulloch, Smith (2), Gallagher, Denholm, Keay Cons: Smith (5), Law
Scoring sequence: 7-0; 14-0; 21-0; 28-0; 33-0; 40-0; HT; 47-0; 52-0:
Keri Holdsworth Player of the Match: Meryl Smith
University of Edinburgh Men v University of St Andrews Men
The University of Edinburgh proved too strong for their University of St Andrews counterparts as they ran in nine tries to secure a convincing win in this afternoon’s Royal Bank Scottish Varsity derby at BT Murrayfield.
Scrum-half James Small-Edwards scored a hat-trick, while fullback Henry Weir grabbed a brace in this well-contested encounter.
Stand-off George Wallington added eight-points via his boot in an all-round performance in the No.10 jersey, while Harry Hitchens proved a menacing threat in the wide channels all afternoon.
University of Edinburgh Head Coach, David Adamson, said: “It was a great occasion and playing at BT Murrayfield and having the support of Scottish Rugby is great for the event.
“I think the weather allowed the crowd to enjoy it and the pitch was in great condition.
“It was really pleasing from a coaching perspective that we kept playing to our structures and the tactics that we wanted to implement.”
Steven Sims Player of the Match, James Small-Edwards, said: “It was brilliant. I think we implemented our game plan really well. We kept on script and we didn’t divert from what we were told to do.
“We stayed really disciplined. I think our kicking game, especially early on, carried us through it and St Andrews then struggled to get out of their own half.”
With the partisan crowd of 9,546 in full voice on kick-off, both sides showcased a real tenacity in defence to start this fiery encounter.
With plenty of close-quarter hits keeping the ball halted in midfield, Edinburgh finally gained a territorial advantage as they secured a line-out deep inside the St Andrews 22m.
Following a series of darts at the whitewash, the ball was eventually recycled to Suwi Chibale – who arrived on a perfectly angled short line – and the centre showcased his power to barrel over the line for the first try of the afternoon. (5-0)
Edinburgh continued to hold the upper hand in attack and soon once again worked the ball just shy of the St Andrews’ whitewash.
With the big men up-front proving a menacing option in the loose, second-row James Nelson timed his support line well to turn quick ball into five points. With stand-off George Wallington adding the extras, Edinburgh led 12-0 after just 15 minutes played.
Edinburgh continued to maintain their defensive shape and with St Andrews limited in their attacking options, key defenders like Chibale and Nicholas Baines were able to make the most of loose ball.
And following a sloppy turnover inside the St Andrews 22m, James Small-Edwards showed his quick thinking with a wickedly fast show-and-go down the blindside which allowed the scrum-half to dive over in the corner for his side’s third score of the afternoon. Wallington’s resulting conversion attempt fell well wide. (17-0)
St Andrews fullback Kelvin Chen was forced to leave the field after picking up a knock following a courageous last man tackle, and very quickly his side kicked into another gear.
With pace man Issac Stables proving the most dangerous option in attack, St Andrews looked to move the ball wide with pace and the winger threatened to break free on several occasions.
However, it was his opposite number – Harry Hitchens – who would prove to be the most potent finisher.
After collecting ball 30m out from the St Andrews whitewash, Hitchens showcased excellent balance and cohesion to avoid the touchline and walk the tightrope en-route to scoring Edinburgh’s fourth score of the afternoon.
As Wallington easily converted, the capital side led 24-0 at the break.
Edinburgh shot out of the blocks to start the second period and with their forward pack inching towards the St Andrews whitewash, gaps began to appear in their opponent’s backline.
Small-Edwards once again proved to be a live-wire in attack and as he sniped around the corner, the scrum-half had the simple task of gliding through a gap for the easy score. Wallington converted to make it 31-0.
Edinburgh were now purring in attack and after securing the ball inside their own half, released a quick-fire counter-attack that would lead to the try of the afternoon.
With fullback Weir drawing his man and providing an excellently timed off-load, Hitchens collected before advancing 40m inside the St Andrews half.
With defenders closing in, the winger swiftly passed inside to the supporting Weir, who cantered over the line for a breath-taking score, bringing BT Murrayfield to its feet. (38-0)
With the wind in their sails, Edinburgh added a sixth via replacement Harry Wells, before Weir once again got in on the act as he glided under the sticks to further his side’s advantage. (52-0)
The Edinburgh forwards had bossed proceedings all afternoon and soon the pack provided the go-forward for yet another score. With the St Andrews goal-line defence in reverse, second-row Zak Redgrave muscled over from close range to extend his side’s lead. (57-0)
With just five minutes remaining, Small-Edwards – who was named Steven Sims Player of the Match – grabbed his hat-trick with a simple drive over the line as Edinburgh wrapped up a convincing derby win at BT Murrayfield. (62-0)
University of St Andrews Head Coach, Scott Lawson, said: “Edinburgh were too much to deal with at times, but I was proud in the way in which we stuck in and refused to give up.
“They brought a certain level of physicality and power to the game and ultimately that’s what rugby is about. That put us on the back foot and unfortunately, we lost some key individuals to injury which didn’t help our continuity.
“There was no lack of effort from St Andrews and I told the lads I was immensely proud of them for work prior to the game and for their performance on the pitch this afternoon.”
FULL TIME: University of Edinburgh 62-0 University of St Andrews
University of Edinburgh: Henry Weir; Arthur Friend, Suwi Chibale, Adam Causer, Harry Hitchens; George Wallington, James Small-Edwards; Stewart Hodgen, James Boyle CAPTAIN, Max Young, James Nelson, Zak Redgrave, Tom Robertson, Nicholas Baines, Matthew Crowther.
Replacements: Will Cooke, Nicholas Brimacombe, Tommy Fawcett, George Ignarski, Archie Dunnhill, Harry Wells, Angus Bell
University of St Andrews : Kelvin Chen; Isaac Stables, Gregor Trickett, Cameron Rhodes, Fezan Mughal; Campbell Murray, Jamie Kelly; Myles Keane, Jamie Morrison, Matthew Phillipson, Stephen Tue, Alex Whyte, Cameron Galloway, Alex Lockie, Alex Hodgins CAPTAIN
Replacements: Ryan Trusler, Sam Wright, Pat O’Leary, Matt Terry, Archie Boyes, Jamie Appleton, Angus James
University of Edinburgh:
Tries: Chibale, Nelson, Small-Edwards (3) Hitchens, Weir (2), Wells Cons: Wallington (4), Causer, Wells Pens
Scoring sequence: 5-0; 12-0; 17-0; 24-0; HT; 31-0; 38-0; 45-0; 52-0; 57-0; 62-0
Steven Sims Player of the Match: James Small-Edwards