Will Smith Stars As 21s Blossom

Girtonian fresher Will Smith scored two tries as the Light Blue 21s defeated Oxford in a convincing display at Twickenham.

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Cambridge U21s 20 – 5 Oxford U21s

Girtonian fresher Will Smith scored two tries as the Light Blue 21s defeated Oxford in a convincing display at Twickenham.

Cambridge started the stronger team and were putting pressure on Oxford straight from the off, their forwards bullying the Dark Blue pack whenever they could.

Tim Sherrington’s exclusive match photos from Twickenham.

It was not long before Tommy Palicios touched the ball down for the first try, the disciplined Cambridge pack driving their captain over from a line-out.

Shortly after this, winger Smith burst into the game, showing Oxford what he could do with some powerful runs from off the wing.

Before the break, Cambridge failed to convert their possession and pressure, going into the changing rooms at half time only one score ahead, despite having the run of the play.

In the second half the Light Blues put Oxford to the sword.

For the Oxford front five, the break was evidently not long enough as Cambridge’s dominance in the scrums only increased. Cambridge had all the momentum and punished Oxford for any mistake by pushing them back in the forwards.

It was from this platform that Cambridge’s backs received some solid and secure ball, and enough space for winger Smith to complete a move by running a great line from his wing to score the Light Blues’ second try.

The winger and the Cambridge backs were building in confidence and proved almost impossible to tackle as they ran the Dark Blues inside out at times.

Only four minutes later, Smith scored the try of the game, receiving the ball outside the 22 and dashing through Dark Blue defenders, leaving them trailing with his pace and strength to touch down under the sticks, with Steve Townsend kicking the conversion.

Oxford did manage themselves to get a consolation score, but by now it was too late in the game, and Light Blue fly half Steve Townsend put the game to bed shortly afterwards by kicking a penalty, putting the Cambridge score far out of Oxford’s reach.

After the game, Palacios told The Tab he was proud of his men: “The win feels great. A lot can be said about the performance but I am particularly proud of the way we played for each other and for the shirt, particularly in defence. This memory will stay with us for a long time and I feel lucky of having been able to share it with this group of coaches and players”.

Seasoned observers of Cambridge rugby will hope that try-scorer Smith will follow the well-trodden route from 21s hero to full Blue, as Ed White and Rob Stevens have in the past few years.

Smith however prefers to think about the team’s prospects. He told The Tab: “I have strong hopes for next year as the confidence we can take from how we’ve played all season, culminating in a brilliant team performance at Twickenham, provides a fantastic platform to work from.”

The convincing display by the 21s will encourage CURUFC’s management, who are faced with the task of building a new Blues XV after their side’s below-par display in the Varsity Match. Judging by the young side on display, they have plenty talent to work with.