Varsity Rugby Union Preview

Lucy previews Saturday’s Varsity rugby fixtures…


UoNWRFC have had a trying season, finishing 3rd in the table a point behind the rivals Trent. Having beaten each other once in the league this season, it’s winner-takes-all come May 2nd.

The season began on a high with the girls running in a number of tries against the likes of De Montfort, Leicester and Bedford and keeping the points of the opposition at a low. The second half of the season offered more of a challenge as the girls fell to Trent away and Cambridge at home, but still recorded some hard fought wins.

Freshers bring talent to the team in the form of newly-converted centre Aoife Fehilly, who brings a level of physicality and excellent decision-making to the backs. Great skill has also been shown by first-year medic, Ella Whitehouse, who has stepped up to the position of fullback with great enthusiasm. In the forwards, newcomer Jade Dennett has made an impact in her natural rucking abilities and tackling skills, demonstrating what is to come for this talented second row.

Nippy scrum half and captain Jess Green and rucking queen and vice-captain Becci Andrews lead the girls by example in every game

The returning members of the team who offer a real threat to Trent can been seen in nippy scrum half and captain Jess Green, and rucking queen and vice-captain Becci Andrews, who lead the girls by example in every game. In the backs, president Violet Coppin and Emma Lumley offer options of formidable centres, threatening every defence they face.

The girls have won the last three Varsity clashes against the local rivals putting numerous points on the board, and the hopes for this year are no different. President Violet Coppin thinks that 2015’s matchup will be the closest for years with the talent that Trent possess.


Having missed out on last year’s Varsity fixture, UNRUC finished this season on a high with an enormous 35-0 victory over Northumbria and a win against Newcastle.

Fronting the best sides in the North of England on a regular basis in a tough league, the boys have continually faced up to the challenge and demonstrated the threat of the Midlands. A highlight of their season was a well-deserved win over Loughborough in November.

England Students hooker Toby Saysell is helped in the forwards by the talents of second row Ben Latimer, UNRUC’s player of the season

Trent and UNRUC have not met since pre-season. Since then, there have been many team changes and developments. A regular feature of the starting 15 is Belgium 7s international Vinny Hart, who has made a huge impact for the team at full back. Another notable has been England Students player Toby Saysell, who plays hooker for the boys. Toby is helped in the forwards by the talents of UNRUC’s player of the season, second row Ben Latimer, who has been vital to the club’s success this season. Returning experience is also found in second row and captain Peter Hyams, who just returned from a year in Texas teaching Americans how the English do rugby.

President Joe Budd is confident that if the boys can harness the same fierceness they found when playing Northumbria and Newcastle, they can bring home the silverware for UoN. With their goal to remain in Prem A achieved, the boys now face their biggest match on May 2nd hoping to emulate their season success.

Action at Lady Bay gets under way on Saturday 2nd May (Women’s: 5.30pm, Men’s: 7.30pm).

Lucy Ryall

Follow live Varsity updates on Twitter with @ImpactVarsity15

Image: @UoNWRFC Twitter


21-year-old Ameri-Czech student of Politics & Economics at the University of Nottingham. Sports Editor @impactmagazine. FFC worshipper. European.

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