Exeter Scrape to Victory over Southampton Men's Rugby 1st XV

Exeter were the visitors to Wide Lane last Wednesday, and despite playing some of the best rugby Wessex had played all year, Exeter left Southampton with a narrow win. With […]

Athletics Union Exeter Rugby Southampton University

Exeter were the visitors to Wide Lane last Wednesday, and despite playing some of the best rugby Wessex had played all year, Exeter left Southampton with a narrow win.

With some elusive backs, Exeter bagged the first try of the game after one on one tackling let us down. With the try converted, Wessex were 7-0 down within the first 10 minutes. The two teams were going hammer and tong at one another, but it was Exeter who got the second try of the match, poor tackling, again the issue, off a line-out. 14-0 down, Wessex had to get the next score. This score thankfully came after some excellent hands allowed myself to chip behind for Captain Freddie Gleadowe to score his first try of the match.

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Unfortunately Exeter were to score the next try, but with a lovely try from winger Max Hobbs after some great hands from the backs, Wessex were hopeful that an improved second half performance could see them home. A dubious call from the Referee over a potential try from another chip was a pivotal moment in the match, one which kept Exeter in the lead.

The second half saw a solid start, with both teams playing some fluid rugby at an aggressive tempo. A penalty from myself chipped away at the deficit, but a mix up in midfield allowed Exeter’s centre to trundle over the try line. With their full back kicking perfectly, the score reached 22-15 to Exeter.

A lapse in concentration and an exceptional offload from the Exeter winger allowed them to score a very good try, seemingly putting the game out of sight. 29-15 to Exeter. The last 15 minutes however saw a breathtaking standard of rugby from Wessex. Wave upon wave of attack saw the first of two tries in the final 10 minutes come through Gleadowe’s pick and drive from the ruck, something which you would not commonly associate with a back! Our tails were up and it was straight from the restart when we found ourselves running at the heart of the Exeter defence, making yards with every phase, with excellent work from the pack. This phase play culminated in substitute center Rob Booth hitting a lovely angle and using good footwork to round the fullback and score.

Unfortunately we left ourselves with too much to do in the end. Had we the opportunity to play 5 more minutes, we would have scored; it was that kind of finish. A few pivotal moments either side of the half ultimately let Wessex down. Playing in such a league, lapses in concentration can take the game away from you in a heartbeat.

Wessex, although downbeat after, will take away lots of positives from this defeat. The rugby we played at the end was special. Man of the Match went to myself, and Hit of the Day went to Ben Flett who worked tirelessly throughout the game. Cardiff Met are our next opponents today, Wessex are hoping to end a very successful year in style.