The University of Edinburgh came out on top in the latest instalment of the world's oldest Varsity match. They produced a scintillating performance to defeat the University of St Andrews 39-0 in a Kukri derby at London Scottish RFC.
This was the first time the match has been hosted south of the border, rekindling one of the oldest rivalries in sport, and a crowd of around 2000 was on hand to witness the action.
The universities - both founding members of the Scottish Rugby Union - first played each other over 150 years ago, creating a long rivalry that predates the Oxford vs Cambridge Varsity match played at Twickenham every year.
This year, the universities played the fixture south of the border in order to showcase the strength of Scottish University rugby and to attract support from the large numbers of alumni living in south-east England.
Alesha Dixon of Strictly Come Dancing fame was among the celebrities in attendance, while former Scotland and British Lions coach, Sir Ian McGeechan, present the Edinburgh team with a specially commissioned trophy to commemorate their victory.
Jim Aitken, Centre for Sport and Exercise Director, University of Edinburgh, said: "This has been a magnificent occasion for Scottish University rugby. I'm extremely proud of the University of Edinburgh coaching team and the players, who have worked so hard. Hopefully this will become an annual event."
Edinburgh were always the favourites to win the game, as their 1st XV plays in a stronger league than St Andrews. However, a plucky St Andrews team - fired up by a large crowd of vocal supporters - dug in hard and weathered a sustained spell of early pressure. While all the play was in the St Andrews half, mistakes and strong defence prevented Edinburgh from breaking the deadlock.
After 25 minutes, centre Noah Pflaum broke through the St Andrews defence, running through several tackles to notch the first try of the game. Rob Cuthbertson added the conversion.
Soon after, Edinburgh stole possession from a St Andrews scrum, allowing substitute Alan Davidson to touch down in the corner. A Cuthbertson penalty made it 15-0 at halftime.
After the break, St Andrews again managed to soak up constant Edinburgh pressure, frustrating attempts to add to the score.
Only after another 20 minutes did the tries start to come, the pick of them coming from a glorious passing move involving winger James Walkinshaw, second row Mark Foster and finished off again by Davidson.
As St Andrews pressed to get on the scoreboard, their passing became more adventurous, allowing Edinburgh to score two further breakaway tries, making the final score 39-0.
Tony Copsey, London Scottish chief executive, said: "London Scottish were delighted to host this fixture. Both sides competed well and it was a superb occasion. It?s been a great night for University rugby and Scottish rugby."
The victory adds to the success that Edinburgh University Rugby Club has enjoyed in recent months. Last season, the 1st XV won the Scottish Universities title with nine wins from 10 matches.This season, the team is playing in the British Universities Premier B League, regularly competing against the best university sides in the UK.
We'd like to congratulate both teams on a fantastic night of rugby - Kukri are proud to be associated with both of these fantastic Universities!
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