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Loughborough University clinch first BUCS Super Rugby title in thriller at the StoneX

Loughborough University clinched the BUCS Super Rugby Cup title against a resurgent Exeter University side 35-31 at Saracens’ StoneX Stadium.

Loughborough University lift BUCS Super Rugby title
Loughborough University lift the BUCS Super Rugby Cup title

A late Exeter comeback was not enough as scores from Chris Preen, Seb Smith, Dan Eckersley, and a penalty try were enough for the African Violet to claim the win.

Despite a Benjy Joseland hattrick and a try from Louie Gulley Exeter could not claim the BUCS Super Rugby three-peat.

Exeter started the game strong, earning the early favour of the referee through a series of scrum penalties. 

The boys in green looked as though they had gained an early lead, charging down the Loughborough clearance, but were called back for an earlier knock-on.

Exeter took the lead through a well struck Charlie McCaig penalty.

This was not to last however, as Loughborough clawed back with a Morgan Meredith penalty on the Exeter 22 midway through the first half.

Scrum between Exeter University and Loughborough University
Scrum between Exeter University and Loughborough University

Spanish international Mario Pichardie plucked a wry lineout ball from the back before Preen galloped over for the African Violet’s first try of the day.

A great bit on ingenuity from Loughborough saw them turn a penalty into a Crossfield kick, allowing Sam Kildunne to bolt down the right wing and coming off with a hamstring injury.

Another Loughborough penalty extended their lead to ten points.

Exeter responded with a try of their own, hooker Gulley finding himself at the back of a rolling maul.

Loughborough continued to pile the pressure, Smith crashing over from a lineout maul try to cancel out Exeter’s efforts.

There was controversy late in the first half as the referee disagreed with Tom Miles’ 50:22 box kick, declaring it instead to be an Exeter lineout.

Meredith slotted another kick to bring Loughborough into a 13-point lead at the break.

Exeter seemed to have turned the tide in the second half, with Joseland carving through the African Violet defence to become his club’s record try-scorer.

The green and whites earned themselves a series of penalties but fumbled a close-range lineout allowing Miles to break from his own try line and ending Exeter’s attack.

Man of the match Dan Eckersley benefitted from the counterattack, extending Loughborough’s lead.

With 15 minutes left Hugo Ellerby saw yellow for his deliberate knock-on, granting Loughborough a penalty try in the process.

A late West Country resurgence gave Joseland two quick tries to complete his hattrick, bringing it to a one score game in the dying minutes.

Exeter looked set to steal the win but for an Elliot Gourlay intercept breaking down the right wing and all but securing the title for the African Violet.

Loughborough celebrate winning the BUCS Super Rugby Cup
Loughborough celebrate winning the BUCS Super Rugby Cup


  • Henry Ollis-Brown

    Henry is a sports journalist with a passion for rugby and motorsports. He is a keen supporter of Harlequins and England rugby. He can normally be found researching an obscure fact to put into an article.