UWIC’s Rugby League side clinched the BUCS Wales and West title on Wednesday after destroying University of Gloucestershire 2nds 40-0.
This scoreline is made all the greater as Gloucester are second in the BUCS Wales and West division and are seen as the Welsh side’s nearest rivals so this result therefore serves as an indication of just how dominant UWIC have been this season.
Their record is eight wins from as many games with an average winning margin of 37 points. In total the season has 10 games, they play a re-arranged game at Swansea next Wednesday (Feb 2nd) and finish the season against Aberystwyth to attempt to claim their “Perfect 10” for the season.
Speaking after the win in Gloucester, Head Coach Paul Horrocks said: “I am really happy with the win, and to zero the opposition. We didn’t play the best rugby after two months without a game but we were dogged and fought hard. We’ve still got a long way to go with Swansea next week and the knockouts thereafter, but this is a good start to the second term.”
Once the league phase of the competition is wrapped up, the knockout phase begins where all four Welsh University sides will feature.
UWIC will enter the BUCS Trophy where they will be up against teams from the Premier North and Premier South as well as the teams finishing 5th to 8th in the new Super 8 League.
Swansea have achieved a place in the BUCS shield, and Aberystwyth and Glamorgan hope to join them there, or else take up a place in the lesser SRL Plate.
A good performance against Premier Division opposition will further strengthen UWIC’s case for promotion to the Premier South, which will then give them the opportunity to enter a seconds team in the Wales and West League.
It goes a long way to show how the sport is developing in Wales that UWIC have enough players to field two strong teams, and shows the growing enthusiasm for the game at grass roots level. There are a lot of talented players at University level in Wales, and many hope to be included in the Wales Student Squad that is due to be announced in the coming weeks.
Much emphasis recently has been placed on the excellent new development pathway from the Valley Cougars to the South Wales Scorprions and then onto the Crusaders and there has quite rightly been a lot of effort put into the top end of the game in Wales which should be applauded.
But grassroots is the key to sustainable success. Many of the stars of the future will start off in the Universities and Welsh Conference, as have done in the past, and investment and effort needs to be put into all levels of the game in order to achieve long term sustained success, and provide a conveyor belt of quality home-grown Welsh talent.
By Paul Hart, Media Officer for Bridgend Blue Bulls & UWIC Rugby League.