Imperial College London

Imperial College 1st XV wins JPR Williams Cup

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Imperial College 1st XV rugby squad

The Imperial College rugby team tasted victory last night at Imperial's sporting event of the year, the Varsity rugby match.

The Imperial College rugby team tasted victory last night at Imperial’s sporting event of the year, the Varsity rugby match.

After a thrilling day in which 56 teams battled it out across ten different sports, the tournament climaxed with a win for Imperial College 1st XV against Imperial Medicals 1st XV as they held the coveted JPR Williams Cup for the second year in a row.

Hundreds of students, staff, alumni and guests braved the cold weather and let out a thunderous roar as the Medics kicked off proceedings in Twickenham Stoop, home to Harlequins RFC.

The spirited crowds enjoyed the sounds of the Imperial College Wind Band and the Techtonics vocal group, with a dazzling performance from Imperial College Titans cheerleaders just before the main battle commenced.

Fierce battle

Following last year’s unprecedented 31-0 victory for Imperial College – after eight years of wins for the Medics – the Medics were determined to take back the Cup.

To be sure, the Medics monopolised possession during the game’s opening stages. In the first half hour, the Medics consistently overpowered College in the scrums and strung together a series of clinical passes, but failed to make a breakthrough. A rare counterattack from the College was squandered mere yards from the tryline. The tense, taut early stages remained scoreless.

After 31 minutes, College winger Syarif Hertog made a bold run through the Medic defences, passing to College captain Jack Flanagan who touched the ball down right between the posts to score the game’s first try. Fly-half James Cox made light work of the conversion, giving the College a 7-0 lead.

The Medics responded almost immediately, rucking, mauling and grubbing the ball into the College dangerzone creating a series of closely-missed scoring opportunities. Eventually the Medics’ flanker Scott Godfrey scrambled through for a try. The Medics’ full back Oscar Short failed to make the conversion from a challenging angle, leaving the score at 7-5 to the College as the first half concluded.

Imperial College dominated the beginning of the second half and number 8 John Hardisty took full advantage scoring the College’s second try followed by an assured conversion from Cox making the score 14-5.

The Medics attempted to hit back with several impressive runs from Godfrey, but struggled to penetrate the College’s solid defence.

With full time fast approaching, Imperial College made a fierce final push towards the Medics’ tryline. The Medics won back possession but a poor clearance went only as far as Flanagan who led a series of smooth passes and a try from College scrum-half Scott Fraser. The attempted conversion was well wide, but it didn’t matter. The final whistle blew and the College were the 19-5 victors retaining the JPR Williams Cup.

Victory

JPR Williams, Imperial alumnus (MBBS Medicine 1973) and former Wales and British Lions international, presented Imperial College captain Jack Flanagan and his victorious squad with the Cup. President & Rector Sir Keith O’Nions presented runner-up medals to Imperial Medicals captain Marc MacMillan and his team.

Immediately after taking the Cup, Flanagan said: “It was a great win. I feel like we’ll win every year now. It feels great to smash them – an awesome feeling.”

JPR Williams said: “It was a game of two halves. The Medics seemed to have the upper hand in the first half, and College in the second. I really enjoyed it. Though I was a medic I don’t have a favourite anymore. That’s nine to two wins for the Medics now.”

Sir Keith added: “It was the best Varsity game I’ve seen by far. The standard was extraordinarily high, and a huge improvement on last year. The quality and training of both sides shone through.”

Earlier in the day, netball, squash, basketball and waterpolo teams kicked off the day’s events at Ethos. Hockey, rugby, football and lacrosse teams clashed at Harlington, QPR’s training ground. Badminton and netball took place at Seymour Leisure Centre, while the men’s tennis was held at Hyde Park. For full results, see the Imperial Sports homepage.nt

Reporter

Andrew Scheuber

Andrew Scheuber
Communications Division

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Email: press.office@imperial.ac.uk
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