Johns repel Robinson with a ruckLouis de Neve

On a blisteringly hot Saturday afternoon, reigning champions St. John’s travelled to the Robinson College Sports Ground at Barton Road to take on the underdogs standing between them and yet another final at Grange Road.

From the very beginning of the afternoon the stage looked set for what would prove to be a dominant victory from the Red Boys, with Robinson turning up in a mismatch of training kits, “borrowed” football shirts, previous vintages of the Robinson rugby strip, and crucially, given the day’s balmy outlook, with a serious lack of water bottles.

As the captains returned to their sides for the kick-off, the air was still and the atmosphere electric. Robinson fielded the ball well but failed to keep their handling clean in the face of pressure from the John’s defence, ceding possession. The superior drilling of the John’s team was evident as they easily moved possession out to the wing and cruised in for the first score of the day. An impressive display of forward dominance at the line-outs and scrums meant that by the end of the first half the scoreline of 50-3 to Johns told a sorry, but true story of the level of competition on the field, with Robinson being awarded a penalty kick in centre-field during one of their few forays into John’s territory.

The scorching weather meant that the captains had agreed to rolling substitutes, and at half-time both sides emptied their benches. Robinson did so in an attempt to stem the seemingly endless flow of line-breaks and points, and John’s presumably in order to make sure the team was sufficiently fit for the final they must have already had one eye on.


Mountain View

A Day at the Rugby

The opening exchanges of the second half seemed to signal business as usual, before Robinson found a burst of energy and coherence from seemingly nowhere. Capitalising on the poor discipline from the John’s forwards that had been evident throughout the game, they won a penalty try and kept the momentum with the boys in blue as they were marched by the referee repeatedly into the St John’s half. A purple patch of forward dominance from Robinson helped to set the tone of what looked like the start of a barely believable comeback, but after a while the superior fitness of their opposition showed, and by the end, a few pieces of flair and grit ensured that the scoreline read a respectable-enough 64-32.

Robinson will be pleased with that result, having had a sordid League campaign. They will hope that the momentum they take with them will kickstart next year’s campaign. Meanwhile John’s will prepare for the final against FitzSid who beat Pirton 20-48, knowing that they will not be able to take their foot off the gas in the same way against a more well-drilled and fitter opposition and expect to come out victorious.

Plate semi-finals:

St. Catherine’s & Homerton 57-3 Trinity Christ’s

Queen’s 5-59 Jesus


Churchill & Magdalene 45-5 Downing


Peterhouse, Emmanuel, Selwyn & Trinity Hall 27-22 Caius