The first day of competition of varsity 2019 saw DMU rugby’s first team compete against UoL at Welford Road. The feeling was positive that DMU could give UoL a good game, getting closer than the 44-0 score line of last year. The rain had played a big role in the women’s game beforehand with large amounts of handling errors plaguing both sides.

Once the men’s game kicked off the rain started coming down heavily with a swirling wind. The game started at a frantic pace form both sides. DMU were straight onto the attack, the game plan was the same as all season; use the forwards to gain yards, then ship the ball out to the backs to play the pretty rugby. The first few phases were the same from both teams as the forwards were both piling into the rucks to try and secure the ball. After UoL turned over the ball, it was quickly out into the backs to take advantage of the pace on the wings, this was used effectively throughout the game. After almost scoring on their first attack of the game, but for a try saving tackle by Matt Wells, the ball was out for a line out. This was the first time the two big packs went up against one another.

Matt Wells tries saving tackle.

The UoL pack was effective, efficient and strong in their line outs all game and the first one was no different as they quickly formed a mall to go up against DMU. Soon after the first score of the game was made by UoL. The early scrums also showed the power of the UoL pack, comfortably driving the DMU pack backwards. Before half time, they scored 24 unanswered points, however on the stroke of half time Ben Pryor slotted a penalty to lessen the blow.

Scrum between DMU and UoL.

Changes were made at half time by DMU in hope of clawing some points back. The second half was started at similar pace to the first, both teams still trying to get an advantage. DMUs pack came back into the game as changes made the side more physical. An unlucky yellow for Lewis Stanhope meant that UoL had a one-man advantage However, UoL scored freely throughout the half and the man advantage did little to impact this.

The score flattered UoL as DMU competed throughout, but the class of the opponent meant that they were more clinical in and around the try line, the pack won most of the scrums and used the pace on the wings well. If DMU played like they did Wednesday, they will have no problem with staying up in the league when they face Aston next week. The cup final will be a great day out and will make a good season out of one that could have ended up a dismal one.

Photography by Kirsty Blackwell