by Lulu Thornton
The final game of the first term for Swansea University RL took them west to Aberystwyth but with only 15 players. The game started as an arm wrestle, with both teams carrying hard through the middle and defending resolutely. This tight start led to knock-ons from both teams in the opening 20 minutes, making the game scrappy. However, Aberystwyth increased their intensity, forcing a number of penalties by Swansea to give the home team field position and a chance to score points. After repeat sets, Aberystwyth crashed over through strong carrying on their left edge to make the game 4-0. This was a catalyst for Swansea to increase their skill levels and up the aggression; after a good break down the middle, Jack Richards was on hand to run in under the posts and the conversion was successful, making it 6-4 at half time. Swansea played the second half as they finished the first, scoring three tries from their first three sets – Sam Baker grabbed two of these from loose forward. Swansea also defended much more enthusiastically, forcing errors from the home side and not allowing any easy yards. The skill level remained high on attack and tries remained frequent for Swansea in the second half, with Seb Engel, Sam Baker again and Ollie Beale on debut amongst the scorers. A strong second half resulted in a Swansea University win of 4-42 and kept the unbeaten season going.
Why have you been so successful so far?
There are a number of reasons for our successful season, starting with the depth of our squad. We have had over 30 boys involved in a match day this season, which is hugely important as everyone has different university deadlines and we have been unfortunate in suffering a number of injuries. However, the boys in the club have stepped up and played brilliantly, resulting in a real competition for places. Our link with West Wales Raiders RL has proved invaluable also; the standard of coaching we receive from the club has improved all players and has provided a number of opportunities for individuals to play at higher standards. A lot of the players come from a rugby union background. Consequently this coaching has been brilliant in order to get the team playing proper rugby league. The desire to get promoted back to the BUCS Western Premiership is pivotal to our success as well. The boys in the club feel like we could compete in the top league, and thus we have to prove that we are the best university rugby league team in the South-West and Wales.
What are your ambitions for the rest of the season?
Having gone undefeated thus far, we intend on continuing this feat for the rest of the season. We have two big league games left to play, and then two play-off matches to gain promotion and a cup competition. Ultimately we are looking to gain promotion to BUCS Rugby League Southern Premiership and win the cup. We also want to improve our links with local side West Wales Raiders and attempt to get more students in Swansea involved in the club.