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Cambridge Rugby Club celebrate first RFU Championship victory after late drama at London Scottish

It has been a long time coming, but Richie Williams was able to toast Cambridge Rugby Club’s first ever victory as a RFU Championship club yesterday evening.

‘Red wine Saturdays’ were a regular occurrence last season as Cambridge battled their way to the National League 1 title, with director of rugby Williams often taking to X – formerly known as Twitter – to post a picture of his favourite drop after a win.

Life in the second tier has so far been a tough challenge for Williams and his players, who opened up their debut campaign at the level with seven straight defeats.

Cambridge Rugby Club's head coach and director of rugby Richie Williams. Picture: Chris Fell
Cambridge Rugby Club's head coach and director of rugby Richie Williams. Picture: Chris Fell

But at the eighth time of asking Cambridge experienced what it was like to win in the Championship thanks to a dramatic 28-26 triumph at London Scottish, which came courtesy of Morgan Venness’ try and Jamie Benson’s conversion in the dying embers of the encounter.

And fittingly, Williams marked the occasion with one of his traditional posts on social media, captioned: ‘It’s been a while my old friend.’

Speaking on the Richie and Jacko Podcast after the victory, the Welshman said: “I may put a tweet out tonight with a bottle of red wine. I’ve been waiting a long time.

“It’s been tough. If I’m being honest it’s been a tough couple of months, not winning games. It’s the longest losing streak we’ve ever experienced at the club.

“I’m a bit lost for words. The character that the players showed there, to go from five metres out from our own try line to turn the ball over and then go 90 metres and have the composure to score that try at the end – and then Jamie Benson to kick that conversion.

“I’m just delighted for everyone associated with the club. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve had a really tough couple of months. That’s the first game we’ve won in a long time, so to win a close game in that manner, I think it will put us in good stead.”

The challenge in 2024 is to ensure that the success at the expense of London Scottish is a building block to further positive results, as opposed to being an anomaly.

Williams added: “We’ve grown into this league, we’ve now officially arrived. I’ve been saying for a long time we belong at this level, even though our results haven’t gone our way.

“What we showed in large parts of that game, we’re very competitive and we had the killer instinct to score that try and get the five points.

“I think a lot of what you saw in those last five minutes has been built over the last couple of months and some of the tough experiences. As I said, going into Christmas, we needed that.

“It’s the first five points we’ve ever got at this level so we’ve made a little bit of history there. The important thing is now we build on that performance after Christmas.”

Prior to the late heroics from Venness and Benson, Ewan Richards, George Bretag-Norris and Matt Dawson all dotted down in the bonus-point victory.

Cambridge will now break for the Christmas period before returning to action at home against Cornish Pirates on January 13.

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