Rugby team wins varsity clash
The University rugby team has triumphed in a unique match in London.
Taking on the University of St Andrews, Edinburgh produced a scintillating performance to win 39-0.
The match, hosted south of the border for the first time, rekindles one of the oldest rivalries in sport.
The universities - both founding members of the Scottish Rugby Union - first played each other more than 150 years ago.
This created a long rivalry that predates the Oxford versus Cambridge varsity match played at Twickenham every year.
This year, the universities played the fixture south of the border to showcase the strength of Scottish University rugby and to attract support from alumni living in south-east England.
Around 2,000 spectators attended the match, which was hosted by London Scottish rugby club at its ground in Richmond.
Former Scotland international Andy Irvine presented the Edinburgh team with a specially commissioned trophy to commemorate their victory.
This has been a magnificent occasion for Scottish university rugby. I’m extremely proud of the University of Edinburgh coaching team and the players, who have worked so hard. Hopefully this will become an annual event.
As the Edinburgh 1st XV regularly plays in a stronger league than the St Andrews team, Edinburgh was expected to come out on top.
However, a plucky St Andrews team - fired up by a large crowd of vocal supporters - dug in hard and weathered a sustained spell of early pressure.
While all the play was in the St Andrews half, mistakes and strong defence prevented Edinburgh from breaking the deadlock.
After 25 minutes, centre Noah Pflaum broke through the St Andrews defence, running through several tackles to notch the first try of the game.
Rob Cuthbertson added the conversion.
Soon after, Edinburgh stole possession from a St Andrews scrum, allowing substitute Alan Davidson to touch down in the corner.
A Cuthbertson penalty made it 15-0 at half-time.
After the break, St Andrews again managed to soak up constant Edinburgh pressure.
Only after another 20 minutes did the tries start to come, the pick of them coming from a glorious passing move involving winger James Walkinshaw, second row Mark Foster and finished off again by Davidson.
As St Andrews pressed to get on the scoreboard, their passing became more adventurous, allowing Edinburgh to score two further breakaway tries, making the final score 39-0.
London Scottish were delighted to host this fixture. Both sides competed well and it was a superb occasion. It’s been a great night for university rugby and Scottish rugby.
The victory adds to the success that Edinburgh University Rugby Club has enjoyed in recent months.
Last season, the 1st XV won the Scottish Universities title with nine wins from 10 matches.
This season, the team is playing in the British Universities Premier B League, regularly competing against the best university sides in the UK.
The University of Edinburgh also has a long tradition of producing strong rugby teams, as well as players who represent their national sides.
Distinguished rugby players from Edinburgh include former British Lions David Bedell-Sivright, Angus Black, Dan Drysdale and C.G. Timms.
Eric Liddell, featured in the film Chariots of Fire, also captained Edinburgh prior to winning 400 metres gold at the 1924 Olympics, while Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also turned out for the team before finding literary fame.
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