Hundreds of students, staff and alumni from the University of Gloucestershire are expected to descend on the home of England Rugby to cheer on the women’s rugby team who have reached the national finals for the first time in their history.
The University of Gloucestershire Women’s Rugby team has beaten everyone so far this season and will play against cup holders Cardiff Metropolitan University (formerly UWIC) at Twickenham Stadium on Friday, March 27.
The match, which kicks off at 5pm, is one of two games being played in the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Rugby Championship Finals, with the other being the men’s equivalent fixture between Loughborough and Leeds Beckett. The university’s Students’ Union has arranged for four coaches to carry supporters to Twickenham.
To be one of four university teams stepping out on the famous turf is quite a fairy tale story for the University of Gloucestershire. Five years ago, the university’s women’s rugby team was languishing at the bottom of the BUCS rugby programme, sometimes struggling to field a full team. Now they are one win away from the biggest prize available to them, knocking out Edinburgh and 2013 champions Exeter on their road to the final.
The contests between the university and their final opponents so far this season have been close. A 12-12 stalemate early in the season was followed by a 12-10 victory for the University of Gloucestershire in the league just over a month ago. All indications are this fixture could be one of the closest finals in recent years.
University of Gloucestershire Women’s Rugby Head Coach, Tom Eddolls, said: “We have put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes this year to ensure the girls can play at their best on the field. The semi-final was a gripping game and would have made a cracking final. Every player put their bodies on the line and stuck to the game plan. I am proud of them all for making it as far as we have. Bring on the final!”
When asked to identify a player who was one to watch in the final, Tom said: “Devon Holt, she’s not the biggest of players, but has a powerful hand-off and outside break that will punish tired defenders.”
University of Gloucestershire Women’s Rugby Team Captain, Bianca Blackburn, said: “We have had a great season winning the BUCS Premiership, giving us good go-forward for the cup. I am really looking forward to Twickenham. All the girls have worked so hard for this. I’ve always said it's our year and I believe it is. There's no pressure, just an opportunity to play Cardiff again and this time at the home of English rugby.”
Tickets are priced between £8 and £10 and can be bought from the RFU website.
The University of Gloucestershire All Golds Rugby League side will be providing live running text commentary during the match that will be available online.
In addition, All Golds TV, a student-led project working in partnership with the All Golds, will be covering the match at Twickenham. Video highlights and interviews will be available from Monday after the match.
Keep up-to-date by using the hashtag #TeamGlos.