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Double-up for University of Leicester

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University of Leicester scored a Varsity double in front of a noisy crowd of more than 3,500 at Welford Road on Wednesday evening.

Leicester beat their De Montfort University rivals 29-10 in the women’s fixture and followed up with a clinical 49-12 victory in the men’s match.

Leah Thompson, the centre who scored a hat-trick in last year’s Leicester victory, got the women’s match off to a flying start with a try in the third minute. But De Montfort struck back immediately with a score from No8 Del Townsend.

Thompson then capitalised on some strong forward play to touch down under the posts, with prop Fern Dyer adding the conversion, and a break by No8 Fiona Fletcher allowed full-back Lauren Thomson to stretch the lead to 17-5 by half-time.

The impressive Fletcher scored twice in the second half to put the game out of De Montfort’s reach and seal an eighth successive win in the women’s challenge for the University of Leicester, before their rivals rounded off the scoring with a close-range consolation try from Lucy Monaghan.

Honours in the men’s game have been more equally shared in some pulsating encounters since the inaugural event in 2002 but, after a close opening 20 minutes, Leicester pulled away to a resounding victory.

Fly-halves Adam Frost and Jonathan Knowles exchanged penalties in a lightning-quick opening period, with Frost’s second success giving DMU a narrow advantage by the 10th minute.

Wing Aaron Boland got on the end of a sweeping attack for the opening Leicester try in the right-hand corner and five minutes later it was the forwards’ turn as hooker Hugh Kelly dotted down from a catch-and-drive to score for a 13-6 lead.

DMU enjoyed some decent spells of possession close to the tryline but could not find the finish and an interception try from centre Johnny Pryce, converted by Knowles, stretched the advantage to two scores.

Frost’s two penalties and one from Knowles made the score 23-12 before wing Edward Morden grabbed the first of a pair of tries for Leicester in the second half.

The best try of the night came shortly before the hour mark when Leicester attacked the length of the field and wing Richard Wills provided the finishing burst. Knowles converted to stretch the lead to 25 points.

There was still time for full-back Callum Howard to score try number six and Morden latched on to a cross-kick from Knowles for his second to put the seal on a convincing win.