This weekend sees the climax of the College Rugby season. With campus newspapers frequently portraying the achievements of our university teams, Saturday is a great time for colleges to display some of the talent that they do indeed possess. As the Emperor League underwent its inaugural year in the sporting calendar, despite being hampered significantly by the terrible Yorkshire weather, colleges around campus have rallied to the opportunity to contest this newly created prize. The quality of these teams has been surprising.
This coming Saturday, the eight colleges of York University play out the annual Rugby Tens tournament on 22 acres, having been granted permission to finally host college rugby on these ‘University’ sports pitches (the games had only previously been able to go ahead thanks to the co-operation of Archbishop Holgate school and the York R.I. across town) Two groups of four colleges play each other once, with the top two advancing to the semi-finals. You know how it works!
The level of competitiveness that the Emperor League has developed has subsequently created a good and friendly rivalry between the colleges that is excellent to see. With the likes of Vanbrugh becoming a major force in college rugby, and Derwent showing their calibre by beating Alcuin in the 15s last weekend, this coming tournament should exceed expectations in terms of quality, desire and commitment. James have to be tipped as favourites to retain their title following a demolition of rivals Alcuin a fortnight ago, and their victory against a makeshift UYRUFC threes side last week.
As for Alcuin, this term’s performances have been below-par. Despite the weather destroying any hopes of a fixture list taking shape, and a side plagued by notable long-term injuries, the side will need to be well-drilled; it needs its big players to perform, as well as the drive and the passion to succeed if they are to have any chance of knocking James off their high-horse. Vanbrugh and Derwent both have the potential to field good rugby sides and, whilst it would be a shock to see them oust the traditional heavyweights, Alcuin and James, their presence will certainly produce some fantastic encounters and will contribute to a very competitive tournament.
But, quality abounds in every college side and in a game like tens expect the unexpected. Things go to plan, things don’t. We’ll see flashes of brilliance, we’ll see moments of madness, but one thing is for certain, we will see entertainment. Get yourself down to 22 acres this coming Saturday.
Nouse will bring you full reports of the College Rugby Tens Tournament in next week’s edition, out on Tuesday