Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
leicestertigers.comMattioli Woods Welford RoadContact UsTopps Tiles

Welford Road hosts annual Varsity clashes

Figure image
The University of Leicester celebrated a dramatic Varsity Night double at Welford Road on Wednesday evening.

After finally overcoming De Montfort University stubborn resistance to win the women’s match 17-3, the University of Leicester needed a last-minute try to secure a 17-13 victory in the men’s contest and complete the double for a fifth successive year.
But rivals De Montfort will feel that they had their opportunities in both games, only to be denied by a strong Leicester set-piece in the opener and then that last-gasp score.
DMU were on the front foot in the opening stages of the women’s match, with the first 10 minutes played entirely in Leicester territory. But they were then forced to dig deep in defence and, after receiving the first of three yellow cards for infringements within five metres of their own tryline on the half-hour, the resistance was finally broken a few minutes later when second-row Millie Coe burst through to score close to the posts.
Leicester were back on the attack at the start of the second half, gaining reward for a series of lineout drives with two more yellow cards in the space of two minutes as DMU defended their line. But even down to 13 players, DMU looked to have weathered the storm with determined defence before Leicester centre Emily Penney found a gap to score from close range and added the conversion for a 12-point lead.
DMU, who were heavily beaten in both fixtures last year, got on the scoresheet with a 30-metre penalty from Holly Wheeldon as they looked to build some pressure in the Leicester half, but a textbook lineout drive brought rewards for their rivals with their third try for lock Emily Hughes to put the outcome beyond doubt.
A noisy student crowd created a cracking atmosphere for the men’s match at the climax of the city's varsity sports, with Leicester lock Dan Taylor providing the last-gasp drama as he made the last of three surges to the tryline from the forwards to claim the winning score.
De Montfort had started strongly with livewire scrum-half Henry Clement kicking them into a six-point lead before hooker Ben Teagle forced his way over the line for the opening try. When Clement added the extras the lead has increased to 13-0.
But Leicester gained a lifeline just on half-time with a penalty try, converted by Mike Edworthy, when a powerful maul was pulled down illegally just short of the line.
With Leicester Tigers centre Matt Smith among their coaching team in the dugouts, Leicester made the breakthrough in the second half when patient build-up from the forwards allowed back-rower Luke Cerely to crash over to score and cut the deficit to a single point.
The next score was going to be vital and, although DMU enjoyed their share of possession and territory, Leicester created the better chances on the break and threatened on three occasions from distance before finally capitalising on good work from the backs on the right and then keeping their patience before Taylor finished off their final opportunity for a memorable win.