Staffordshire University Men’s rugby 1sts reach cup quarter-final

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By Barry Landy: Staffordshire University’s Rugby Union Men’s 1st team booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Midlands Conference Cup with a 22-0 victory over the University of Warwick 2nds at the Sir Stanley Matthews Sports Centre.

It was revenge for Staffs, who lost 31-0 to Warwick in the league earlier this season, as they became the first side to defeat the Midlands 2A league leaders.

In a tight opening period, neither side gave an inch and it remained scoreless until the 25th minute when hooker Christian Prince barged his way through for the opening try. 

Matthew Southcombe failed to convert, but shortly before half time, Staffs extended their lead with powerful full-back Christopher Kolapo-Ajaja capitalising on hesitation for a try which Southcombe converted.

Warwick were offered an opportunity to take a foothold when, eight minutes into the second period, Si Gilbert Bell was carded and sidelined for ten minutes for obstruction.

 But the visitors failed to make their numerical superiority count and Staffs had the better of the breakdowns. On 59 minutes, Staffs put the match seemingly out of sight, a penalty from Southcombe extending the lead to 15 points.

With eight minutes remaining, a quick Staffs break led to flanker Southcombe himself going over for a third try which he then converted.

Jake Cambrey was also sin-binned for Staffs late on but the 1sts were able to see out a comfortable win for their second cup victory of the season and will now play either Oxford Brookes 3rds or University of Leicester 3rds in the quarter-finals.

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