Leeds Met aim for double Twickenham success
The British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) rugby championship final takes place under lights at the home of English rugby, Twickenham, on the evening of Friday 28 March and Leeds Met will be represented by both their men's and women's teams.
Leeds Met's women's rugby union team, winners of the competition in 2011, will be appearing in their fifth final where they will face last year's beaten finalists Cardiff Met, with kick off at 5pm. The side compete in the Premier North Division and secured victories in nine of their ten league fixtures this season, finishing top of the table on 42 points. Their only defeat of the season came against the Durham University 1st XV, who finished second in the league. In six of their matches Leeds Metropolitan didn't concede a single point, and their highest margin of victory was against the University of Birmingham 1st XV, a match they won by 128-0.
In the knockout stages of the BUCS Rugby Championship they received a bye in the last 16, which put them straight through to the quarter-finals. This stage of the competition saw them win against the University of Oxford in impressive style, scoring 15 tries to win 86-0. In their semi-final they beat last year's champions Exeter University 43-12 to secure their fifth appearance in Twickenham in the past six seasons.
Fullback and captain Rose Jay said: "This will be my third appearance at Twickenham. I played there for the first time when I was 13, then was part of Leeds Met's victorious 2011 team. I'm so excited to step out on the Twickenham turn and really hope that it will be our year. We've really built up the squad this year and have a strong unit of experienced and new players. Our results have got better and better as the season has progressed. It's difficult to know how Cardiff will be, but looking at their scores they have put a lot of points on some really good teams.
"It's the stuff of dreams to play in the final and I can't think of a better group of girls that I'd rather walk out with. With the match being played under floodlights, it will create a real buzz and I can't wait. It's fantastic that the men's team have reached the final too and really puts down a marker for other universities throughout the country."
The men's rugby union team reached their first Championship final after defeating Exeter 42-18 in the semi-final and will play UWE Hartpury in the final, with kick-off at 7.30pm.
Will Cargill, Leeds Metropolitan captain, said: "The season started well with a good win at varsity under the floodlights at Headingley Carnegie Stadium in front of a raucous crowd of over 10,000. We had three early wins, which really kick-started our season and we started to play some enterprising rugby. What's noticeable about this team is the closeness and togetherness we have.
"It's a massive achievement for us to reach the final and that was the target we set ourselves at the beginning of the season. Everyone is so excited about the occasion and we've all been training really hard this week. It's going to be tough but we are massively up for it and with the girls in the final too it really shows the strength of rugby here at Leeds Met."
Leeds Met Director of Rugby, Colin Stephens, is also looking forward to the final: "After a couple of defeats to Nottingham and Northumbria we were up against finishing in the top four so to win the Northern Premier League and ultimately get to Twickenham is a fantastic achievement.
"It was a very tough game as you would expect for a BUCS semi-final and Exeter played at a fantastic pace. We lost our hooker with a serious knee injury and also had our number 8 put in the bin early on, which gave Exeter the momentum but we defended superbly well when down to 14 and to go in at 20-6 at half time we were confident.
"We started the second half strongly and scored two tries to take a 30-6 lead but then Exeter came back at us very hard and scored a try and a converted try to take the score to 30-18. Exeter had another period of pressure at this stage but once again the lads were outstanding in defence to not concede and we finished the game really strongly to run out eventual 42-18 winners."
In preparation for the final, the men's side will be training at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, home of the Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Carnegie on Thursday 27 March at 2pm.