We spoke to the men’s rugby captain before tonight’s varsity match
‘It’s a spectacle making more people follow and pay attention to the sport’
Ahead of tonight’s two massive varsity fixtures for our men and women, I got to sit down with rugby captain Alfie Dudman Jones. This is a man who not only seems unphased by the daunting occasion of a varsity but is also relishing the opportunity to play in front of a mass of students tonight at the AJ Bell stadium.
With new man David Murray at the helm, Dudman Jones explains it’s been a difficult process getting the team to where it is now. The combination of a reshuffling of the BUCS league, new management and the crippling effect that every university team suffers when its third-years leave, has meant highlights such as beating Bishop Burton at home stick out as motivation of how well the team can perform on their day. Although Dudman Jones wishes they could have had a better pre-season, his belief in the team is evident.
He is keen to express just how unique varsity is to them as players and students. He says “it’s not a BUCS fixture so technically it doesn’t affect our position in the league. But it’s important for different reasons, it’s a spectacle making more people follow and pay attention to the sport, plus you always want to win your rival matches”.
He doesn’t divulge in the added motivation that a match against Manchester Metropolitan University holds, however any student who has ever taken a Magic Bus in the early hours will have heard distinctly unfavourable chants towards our neighbouring university. Dudman Jones only adds “there are some nerves amongst the boys but overall confidence, there’s actually a lot of excitement to be fair, we haven’t played Man Met for three years now so it will be interesting”.
Dudman Jones continues that their pre-season felt somewhat rushed and injuries have affected the squad. However, he says “a couple of freshers have been given the chance, they have shown talent and they deserve it”.
There is an air of confidence amongst this team that only can be found in one where the enthusiasm of new players is utilised, alongside the experience and built up expectation of the older players. Such a fusion of new and old is the spine of this group, one that cleverly makes sure it is not an impenetrable clique to new players.
What is most striking about this captain is the sense of togetherness he seems to have successfully installed into this team. A routine of a team breakfast before the game and a motto of ‘one club one dream’ removes the need to pick out standout individuals. It seems, maybe the persona of the rugby club is one unfairly given at times.
Often, they are viewed in a shroud of machismo, when this could be mistaken for the brotherhood nature of this team, rather than outward aggression. Regardless, this is a group of players in transition that makes sure to hold onto its tradition, so if their collective dream is to win the varsity, it could just happen tonight.
Good luck to both our men’s and women’s teams.
Women’s kick off: 17:30
Men’s kick off: 19:45