College Rugby Preview
The Tab looks ahead to the new rugby season and makes some predictions.
With not long to go until the start of term The Tab looks ahead to an exciting term of college rugby.
John’s, Downing, Jesus, Trinity, Queens’, Magdalene
Last year the Red Boys (John’s) secured the League-Cuppers double for a sixth successive season. But it wasn’t the formality it had been in previous years, as they conceded more tries than any John’s side in recent memory.
Downing came closest to beating John’s last season, narrowly going down by just two points, whilst Jesus showed glimpses of brilliance when at full strength.
Expect both these sides to push John’s even harder this year as they bid to deny the Red Boys a tenth league title in a row.
Jesus captain Jamie Miller is in confident mood ahead of the upcoming campaign and shared some of his thoughts with The Tab:
“I expect this season to take a similar shape to the last,” he said.
“Jesus will be the entertainers, John’s will try to bore everyone into submission with a brand of rugby reminiscent of Ypres and Downing will do their best impersonation of the pretender to the throne.”
Further down the division Trinity look set to be embroiled in another relegation dog-fight. They were lucky to stay up last year and will be scrapping it out with newly promoted Queens’ and Magdalene to avoid the drop.
The Tab predicts:
Relegated: Trinity, Magdalene
[standings league_id=5 template=extend logo=true]Last season’s Division 1 standings
Catz, Girton, Tit Hall, Pembroke, Robinson, Emma or CCK
Catz are the unknown quantity, as they return to the field of play from being banned for nearly all of last season after a player mistook a bar for a urinal at a rugby social in Michaelmas.
Girton lacked the strength in depth to survive in the top flight. They will be relying on a strong batch of freshers to bolster their chances of a return to the big time.
Robinson are a team to look out for. They played some good rugby last season, taking Girton to extra-time in Cuppers, only to bottle it in the penalty shoot out.
If they can keep up the form that won them promotion from Division 3 then they should have a strong season.
The final promotion place in Division 2 will be filled by either Emma or CCK (Clare, Corpus & King’s), who will battle it out in a play-off in the first week of term.
CCK had an astonishing Cuppers run last season, demolishing Downing on their way to the semis and they probably go into the play-off as favourites.
But Emma aren’t going to let Freshers week fun get in the way of their quest to reach the giddy heights of Division 2.
Emma lock and University U21 star Sam Nava told The Tab:
“We don’t care if it is Freshers week or May week, no one from ECRUFC will be going out. Quiet nights are the only way to prepare for colossal games like this.”
The Tab predicts:
Promoted: Robinson, Girton
Relegated: Pembroke, Emma or CCK
Fitz, Selwyn-Peterhouse, Emma or CCK, Homerton, Sidney, Churchill, Caius, Christ’s
For those new to college rugby, Division 3 is split into two pools of four teams in Michaelmas.
Sides face each other home and away, with the top two sides in each pool going into the Promotion League in Lent, whilst the bottom two drop into the League of Shame.
Churchill showed some fine Cuppers form last year, beating Division 1 outfit Trinity before doggedly fighting it out with Jesus in the semis. If they can repeat such inspired performances then they should have little trouble reaching the Promotion League.
Homerton are in danger of becoming part of the Division 3 furniture. After a fine Michaelmas last year their form faltered, failing to win a single game in Lent.
Following the loss of talismanic winger Jon Crook, they could struggle to climb out of the basement of college rugby.
Meanwhile life can only get better for Christ’s who finished bottom of the League of Shame last season.