3rd Jul, 2022

Old rivals set to go head-to-head in annual Varsity clash

RUGBY UNION: RIVALRIES are usually put to one side after the final whistle, but all of that is about to change when Wasps take on Gloucester at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday.

That is because following the Aviva Premiership clash, the men’s rugby teams from Coventry University and University of Warwick will go head-to-head in the final of the annual Varsity tournament (3.15pm kick-off).

Last year’s Varsity clash at the Ricoh ended in dramatic fashion as Warwick scored a last gasp try from a line-out to win the game 22-20 after Coventry kicked the ball out thinking time was up.

Current University of Warwick captain Ed Wilkinson scored the winning points that day, and is looking for a better performance from his side this year.

The 21-year-old said: “The form book had us down as favourites to win last year but we didn’t play well on the day and nearly lost, so we’ll be looking to put on a better performance this time around.

“It’s not every day that students get the chance to play at state of the art venues that generate so much noise, so I feel really lucky to be going back for a second time.

“Wasps player Craig Hampson helps out with the coaching every Monday and Friday and has been giving us a few pointers on different ways we can play and prepare for matches, so come match day we’re confident that we’ll be ready.”

The Varsity tournament is now in its 27th year and has never been won by Coventry University – a record that captain Ryan Conyard is looking to change.

The rugby match is the final Varsity fixture between the two universities, and depending on scores between the two universities in other sports, the overall winner could be decided at the Ricoh.

Ryan added: “We’re undefeated so far this year and the size of the Ricoh Arena pitch is well suited to our style of wide and expansive rugby.

“We still have a few of the lads with us who narrowly lost out last year, including myself, so we are determined to right those wrongs and grasp the opportunity while confidence is high.

“The thought of making history and becoming the first ever team to bring home the title is added motivation for us, and we can’t wait to get out onto the pitch.”

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