Match Report: Caius get off to flyer in college rugby opener

Caius defeat Jesus in the first match of Division 1

College nikos Rugby Sport

Division 1 rugby kicked off on Tuesday with old hands Jesus hosting newcomers Caius.

The last time the sides had met was two seasons ago in the Cuppers quarterfinal, when then-division 3 Caius upset the favourites at home to announce the start of their ascent to the premier division of college rugby.

Conditions conspired to ensure both teams, heavily replenished with freshers, would have a truly miserable grudge match – and first game of the season.

The driving rain and nerves cannot have escaped the attention of the reasonable crowd of spectators huddled on the touchline.

After kickoff solid defences prevailed across the park, with neither Red nor Blue able to break the line.

The large Jesus pack and well-organised Caius backline shut out the direct route, whilst conditions meant flair offloads would be nigh on impossible.

The situation was summed up by frequent kicking from hand by Jesus, hoping for an unforthcoming knock-on.

Notable mentions must go out to the two standout ball carriers, Caius 8 Pete Shotton and Jesus full-back, the former a threat from the base of the ruck and the latter running strong lines past his centers.

Caius rugby cuppers

Caius have started the season well after reaching Cuppers final last season

With both of the ambitious sides growing frustrated, Caius captain Jos Crush took a speculative penalty from the halfway line, missing by a whisker, or few.

After 40 minutes both fly halves had converted penalties, drawing the score to 3-3 in what was becoming an increasingly nervous, and sodden, encounter.

However tired legs began to make themselves clear in the second half.

Inviting holes emerged in the Red defence, and Caius pressed to capitalize on their territorial advantage, provided by an efficient lineout.

Impressive ball carrying from the smaller Caius forwards took them deep into the Jesus 22, and their scrumhalf Tommy Village noticed a gap and darted over to open the scoring.

Crush duly converted; 10-3 to Caius.

jesus rugby

Jesus and Caius locked horns in Rugby Cuppers two seasons ago, with Caius causing an upset on that occassion

Jesus surged after the restart, seeking to reverse the tide.

But not long after a few strong phases the Reds found themselves again defending their try line with body and soul.

The Caius forwards retained possession, and for phase after phase newcomers Fawcett and Sixsmith bundled away in an accomplished Division 1 manner.

Swift hands from the backs set up fresher winger Adam Macnaughton, who darted into the corner to score the second.

The heavens had already opened, and by some miracle from far out Crush converted the slippery ball.

By the dying minutes both teams were drenched and drained, and sloppy play and off the ball ‘debates’ began to tarnish a game that had despite the odds proven both tense and fluid.

The ref’s whistle was greeted by both sides with Caius running out 17-3 winners.

Elsewhere in Division 1 there were wins for St Johns against Selwyn and for Robinson against Downing.