Trinity Rugby (DUFC) came out top in their annual showdown against Oxford University in College Park last Wednesday, walking away with an easy 34-3 victory. DUFC had a strong start, working their way up the pitch into the opposition before being rewarded with a penalty within kicking distance. The students opted to kick to the corner instead in keeping with the traditional running rugby played between these two sides. From the lineout just inside the oppositions 22, the students set up a rolling maul from which Lloyd sniped to put the young fly half Tommy Wittle under the posts for the opening score of the day. Fullback Kearns added the extras. Tommy Wittle was forced to come off immediately afterwards with a strained hamstring.
The remainder of the half was a messy affair with both sides looking to play but inevitably forcing the play, resulting in a lot of errors both sides. Each side added a penalty to leave the score standing at 10-3 to the home side at halftime, after which the game turned in the home teams’ favour. From some good continuity featuring prop Andy Keating and hooker Jack Boland carrying strongly up the right hand side of the field, the ball was then moved quickly wide left through Brian Slater, Conor Kearns with Michael Courtney putting wing Tim Maupin in for a well constructed try.
Oxford came back after this score to mount some serious pressure on the Trinity line but the home team defended stoutly to keep the Dark Blues out, in what was the only real pressure they faced all game. Trinity were now finding their rhythm and they piled on their own pressure. They continued to attack from all over the field. After several phases down the right hand sideline, Conor Kearns cross kicked to his left wing Killian O’ Leary who was totally free out wide, the ball took an unfortunate bounce, but O’Leary did well to reclaim the ball and pass to his captain Paddy Lavelle in support. Lavelle took it to the line before returning the ball back to O’Leary who finished the score.
It was then time for flanker Brian Du Toit to show his sidestepping skills, when he avoided the “would be” tacklers with a step to coast in under the posts. Trinity were now in full flow, and going through all their moves in front of large home Student crowd. From a scrum out wide the backs conjured up one more set play to put Tim Maupin in under the posts for a well executed try.
The result was pleasing but a lot must be improved upon for the next outing on Saturday next against Galway Corinthians. With only two games remaining in the Ulster Bank League and the top two finish within their sights the students need two big performances in order to have a shot at promotion to 1A.
The win came on the back of a strong season for the club in the Ulster Bank League. Having lost the opening three games of the competitive season, DUFC have courageously turned the tides with a 13 match unbeaten streak where promotion hopes were dented with a loss at home to Garryowen three weeks ago.