BIG GAME PREVIEW: RUGBY UNION VARSITY
“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous’
After Thursday’s drab defeat to Trent in a rainy Varsity football, the Rugby Union boys and girls are out for revenge on Monday night.
The Tab Sports Team caught up with UoN Rugby Union President Jamie Sims to see how the 1st XV are feeling ahead of the big game.
“It has been a great season throughout the club, especially in the first team.” Sims said. “We got promoted into the top division, the Premier North A, last year and we weren’t really expected to achieve much this season – the Athletic Union said that this season’s aim for us was simply to stay in the division.”
“We exceeded that and ended up coming 5th, only a couple of points off fourth place. We also qualified for the BUCS competition which we won against Swansea. It has been a really successful season. We have met and exceeded all of our goals.”
With more than 1,000 fans expected to get down to Meadow Lane on Monday night, how are the pre-match nerves?
“We have got to treat tomorrow night like any other game but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. We have been training for a month now and during the season you always keep half an eye on Varsity. In some ways it will be a relief to finally get out on the pitch and put into practice what we have been working on.”
With Trent playing in the division below UoN, does Sims think that his side are the favourites going into the clash?
“I would have said we were favourites last year but we lost that in the dying minutes. I wouldn’t say there was a favourite going into Monday, especially as both teams have had plenty of time to prepare and there’s no particular run of form going into this.”
Last year, UoN suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Trent, paying the price for a succession of missed penalties and eventually falling 17-15.
“I don’t think it’s fair to say that it was just the kicking that cost us last year. We all let ourselves down to be honest and this year the kickers have been out doing lots of practice – they did two hours on Saturday and they will be getting there early on Monday too.”
Having not played against Trent all season, Sims was keen to reiterate how UoN will be looking to focus on their own game and not worry too much about the opposition.
“We’re going to play to our strengths. We’ve got a great scrum and lineout as well as some good back runners in the centre, particularly Nick Greenhalgh and Henry Roberts, who we plan to use as much as possible. Our gameplan is to do what we have done all season: make the most of our chances, keep possession and keep the error count low.”
“We don’t know much about Trent. Especially considering that we have been playing in different divisions so we have been in isolation from each other. To be honest, we’re just focusing on our own strengths and what we want to do. We don’t want to let other sides dictate what we do.”
Trent have also been preparing for the game, and they have even received some personal coaching from England legend and Jonah Lomu punchbag, Mike Catt.
Varsity Rugby Union, Monday 13th May, Meadow Lane. Tickets available from the SU and on the door. if you can’t make it, be sure to follow The Tab’s LIVE TEXT UPDATES.