Edinburgh wins Varsity Match

The University rugby team has won the Scottish Varsity Match for the second year in a row.

Scottish Varsity Match 2012

Around 800 graduates braved sub-zero temperatures to watch the game, which was hosted by London Scottish Rugby Club.

The Edinburgh team defeated their St Andrews counterparts 28-8 after a hard-fought contest.

The Scottish Varsity Match between Edinburgh and St Andrews is the world’s oldest inter-University rugby fixture.

The 2012 match is the second time the fixture has been played in London. It was preceded by a dinner attended by her Royal Highness Princess Anne, University Chancellor and patron to London Scottish, at the Caledonian Club in London.

Match report

From the start, it was clear that both teams were eager to gain the upper hand in the freezing conditions.

Edinburgh looked to use their bigger pack to their advantage, whilst St Andrews sought to move the ball and change the point of attack to move the bigger Edinburgh forwards around the pitch.

Despite their dominance of possession, it took Edinburgh 20 minutes to break the deadlock with a well-taken penalty from Rob Cuthbertson.

Neil Pearston then scored an exciting try - converted by Cuthbertson - and Edinburgh increased their lead further with a drop goal by stand-off and captain Rory Jones. A penalty by St Andrews and another penalty by Cuthbertson completed the scoring for the half to make it 16-3 to Edinburgh.

The second half continued in the same vein with Edinburgh dominant, but some resolute defending by St Andrews - coupled with Edinburgh's ill-discipline at the breakdown - kept the score at 16-3 until Rory Jones scored a fine individual try, which was converted by Will Stephen to make the score 23-3.

Whether it was the sub-zero temperatures affecting the players, or the break in play following an injury to Cuthbertson, the game remained without further scoring until St Andrews scored a well-worked try in the corner.

Edinburgh winger Adam Davidson was sin-binned before that try for continued Edinburgh infringements, but he scored a try with his first touch of the ball upon returning to the pitch to make the final score 28-8.

Schools project

While in London, Edinburgh Head Coach David Adamson took nine of the men’s rugby team to a local comprehensive school to spend a couple of hours training pupils in various rugby skills.

Pupils at Grey Court School in Richmond joined Edinburgh’s players, who put them through their paces on the playing fields, arranging the youngsters into small-sided games to help develop their handling skills and keep things fun.

The Edinburgh players, some of whom are hoping to become teachers on graduation, carry out similar work at Edinburgh’s Jack Kane Centre in Craigmillar.

Rugby history

The University of Edinburgh has a long tradition of producing strong rugby teams, as well as players who represent their national sides.

This season, the team is playing in the British Universities Premier B League, regularly competing against the best university sides in the UK.

Earlier in 2012, the team also took part in the fourth Casablanca International University Rugby Sevens Tournament, edging a close final against a South African team.

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.

Photo credit: London Scottish