UCL Rugby Varsity: pride does not always precede a fall

Richard Taylor, of UCL Men’s Rugby First XV, plugs the upcoming grudge match against the Strand Poly.

KCL King's College Rugby Richard Taylor rugby ucl UCL men's rugby UCL Rugby Varsity varsity

‘Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.’ (B. Disraeli)

Hear ye! Hear ye! As UCL Men’s Rugby 1st XV march inevitably forth to undefeated conquest of their league, a special time of year is approaching.


A time of year that reduces the starting centre, Oscar Dodd, to a focused machine that growls ‘Varsity’ like a caged tiger. His masculine tones reduce women to jelly and send a shiver down my spine. I love Varsity. And Oscar. And my mummy.

Previously the last two sentences could never have been written by a ‘rugby boy’, but times have changed. The club has not one, but two coaches and an unprecedented commitment to training. Moreover, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the 1st XV are undefeated and Pez-dispenses hefty beatings.

It’s hard not to feel excited for Varsity, which will be at the Twickenham Stoop this year. A big step-up from Richmond RFC, reflecting the club’s progression (or the commercial ambitions of the Union – take your pick).


The other starting centre, William East, has been heard telling women, “I’m guaranteed to score, will it be in the eighty minutes though?” A clear reference to the extra-time played last year that unfolded in heartbreak. We wish Will luck.

As one fan, Steve Alan, advises me, “Men’s rugby is attractive on and off the pitch.” It’s not all about having the Union’s only undefeated side – impressive though that is. We like to spread our success.


The club has established links with the Education First Foundation, providers of educational support to Filipino children, and Special Olympics GB, who give a sporting outlet for disabled people. This has led to hugely successful fundraising activities; a naked calendar was enthusiastically photographed by Rebecca Kwo and the winter boat ball showcased…things. These things are going well. Very well. There have been occasions when the rugby team has been accused of arrogance. It’s a delight to now claim this is cockiness.

Suitably riled? Come to Varsity, it’ll add to the atmosphere. Possess the ability to discern sarcasm? Come to Varsity, you’ll like us. Basically, come to Varsity. It is the keystone to the club’s year and will illuminate the transition it has undergone. The summation to a season of success. The climax after hours of sweat-ridden labour. The one game to bind the club together, forged in the firey depths of the South-West London suburbs.


I’m foaming at the mouth as I write this and my fingers are dancing on the keyboard. I wish this article could grab you by the arm, place a hand on your soft cheek and stare lovingly into your eyes in a way that could only passionately suggest Varsity.

“Fine sir,” I hear you say, “you have written some beautiful and seductive prose, but I don’t even understand rugby! And how does one attend Varsity?” Fret not. Neither does Oliver Marshall and he’s the 1st XV’s top try scorer. With a cacophony of Burlington Bertie ringing in your ears and UCL’s twenty-two most handsome and eligible men running around in skimpy shorts and skin-tight shirts you cannot go wrong. It’s a vital part of any UCL student’s university experience.

Varsity tickets can be found on the Union’s online shop. With your ticket, you will also gain access to a superdooperspecial, unofficial afterparty. Check out ‘The Unofficial UCL Varsity Afterparty’ on facebook.

UCL Men’s Rugby will be tackling (see what I did there) King’s College in the annual Varsity match on Friday, 2nd March 2012.