Britton Roxburgh / TWU Spartans with permission for Varsity

Cambridge Men’s 1XV rugby team took on Trinity Western University, a Canadian side currently touring England, in what proved to be a comfortable victory in preparation for this week’s Varsity Match. Trinity Western, nicknamed “the Spartans” trained with the Blues’ Varsity opponents, Oxford University, earlier last week in preparation for both this match and a later fixture against Bristol University.

The dye was already cast in the second minute when Blues winger Tim Andrew finished the first of many Cambridge tries to put them 5-0 up. In what would prove the only mistake in a superb kicking display, Jamie Benson failed to convert. That didn’t matter though, as five minutes later the Blues scored again with a fantastic try by full-back Jamie Farndale. Benson slotted the conversion away and Cambridge were 12-0 up by the ten minute mark and in full control.

Much of Cambridge’s dominance was down to impressive scrummaging. The Blues pack were comfortably stronger and thus able to continuously punish the many offsides that the Spartans conceded. In the 15th minute, the Blues chose to scrum right under the posts after another offside penalty given away by Trinity Western. Having proven their scrum superiority, however, this time Blues No 8 Makoto Tosa quickly took the ball out of the back of the scrum and made a successful dart for the line, in doing so leaving the Trinity Western defence helpless.

Cambridge would score two more tries before the half-hour mark, both of which were scored by outside centre Max Loveridge. On both occasions, the tries were born out of Trinity Western mistakes, especially the latter in which Loveridge intercepted a loose pass virtually on Trinity Western’s own tryline and went straight to ground to score. After five unanswered tries, Cambridge were 33-0 up with ten minutes remaining in the first half.

In the 33rd minute, however, Trinity Western got their first score of the game. After some fine offloading, Ty Dayton went over for the Spartans. Trinity Western’s joy was soon cut short though, as the Blues went straight down the other end and replied with a try of their own after some industrious mauling was finished off by Ben Gompels. That would be the last major action of the first half as Cambridge went into the break with a 34 point lead.

The second half was better from a Trinity Western perspective. Despite conceding a try in the opening minute – as Cambridge finished where they left off – only a matter of minutes later Trinity Western got one of their own when Ethan Jurgeneit powered over the line.

The Spartans were much less flat in attack and began to cut out many unforced errors which made the game a much tighter affair in the centre of the pitch. Cambridge’s clinical finishing, however, still remained too much for an increasingly tired Trinity Western defence to handle. Two more tries, both scored by Connor Collins and converted by the eventual player of the match, Jamie Benson, saw Cambridge extend the score to 61-12 with 15 minutes left.

Trinity Western, however, would have one last thing to cheer about. With five minutes remaining, Blues No 23 Jack Allinson was sin-binned for a high tackle. The Spartans capitalised on their man advantage and Ethan Jurgeneit got his second try of the match. Shortly after, the referee blew the full time whistle and the final score ended 61-19.


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One Blues player afterwards told Varsity: “The game was an important run-out ahead of the ‘big one’ up next against O*ford.” And that’s certainly a fair assessment of what the game meant for Cambridge. It was obvious from the off that Cambridge were the better, more physical side and they got the job done in a professional manner. Dabbled within their steady, assured performance, however, were some fantastic flashes of intricacy that they will be hoping to recreate at the StoneX stadium on Saturday 2 March.

While Jamie Benson was a deserved player of the match on the pitch, off the pitch there could only be two winners. Jeff and Debbie Paul had flown all the way from Canada to surprise their son and Trinity Western student, Ken Paul, at today’s match. Jeff and his red vuvuzela were constantly making noise throughout the 80 minutes and, at the end of the match, Jeff told Varsity how proud he was of the Trinity Western team: “We weren’t expecting much to be honest so to score three tries is amazing!” While ever rugby is a sport on the rise across the Atlantic, the chance to play English sides will always be special and this fixture showed that. For Trinity Western it was once-in-a-lifetime, for the Blues it was the final stepping stone before their biggest game of the season – a fixture they now go into with fantastic momentum.