Cambridge University make case for attack against Steele-Bodger XV
Fraser Gillies is hat-trick star
Cambridge University v Steele-Bodger XV, Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club, University of Cambridge, Grange Rd, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
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If a team scores eight tries then it could be seen as churlish if the overriding feeling is to pick up on the defence.
After all, for most gathered at Grange Road to watch Cambridge University take on the Steele-Bodger XV, it was running, open rugby that they wanted to see.
And those that were able to step up away from the beer tents for the best part of an hour and a half will have gone away happy, having witnessed an encouraging attacking display from the Light Blues as they won 52-26.
The running lines of the students are getting more creative by the week, and their ingenuity to make and then spot the space is also constantly improving, as is the support play.
That in turns leads to the interplay that helped open up the invitational side, with Fraser Gillies being the biggest beneficiary with a hat-trick.
However, look beyond an afternoon when Cambridge businesses shut down and on to December 8 at Twickenham, and coach James Shanahan and captain Daniel Dass will know that the hard work must continue.
For while the entertainment factor is always high with tries, it is those scores from the Bodgers that will give a bit of rise for concern.
The select side were able to cross the line just a little too easily, either in open play or in the tight, and teams really need to be made to work that bit harder for their tries.
It is nothing too drastic that a little tightening up here and there will not be able to fix, but Cambridge would not want to be in the position of being 21-7 up against Oxford to then only lead 21-19 at half time, which is what happened against the Steele-Bodger XV.
The other area which will require a bit of attention in the next fortnight is the number of penalties conceded.
In tight matches where the result is all important – such as the Varsity Match – it gives the opposition the chance to either clear their lines or keep the scoreboard ticking over.
And once a lead is established it then provides a platform to kick for touch and use a set piece as a weapon to do damage.
So the cheap penalties need to be cut out.
But in terms of a test, the Steele-Bodger XV ticked all the boxes that were demanded of them.
With Matt Miles, the wily Des Brett and young Cambridge prop Ben Ibrahim in the front row, their scrum gave a thorough examination to the Light Blues, with Samoan international Dan Leo, old Blue Sam Farmer and Rob Hurrell adding further bulk to the visitors.
They were also eager to run possession at any opportunity, therefore trying to stretch the hosts’ defence, which they did to good affect.
And the crowd were kept entertained by some good tries.
Gillies had two inside the first seven minutes, with his second coming after some good footwork to find the space.
Brian Du Toit’s try was well-worked, while Gillies’ hat-trick score came after some good scrummaging and hitting the line, with play recycled for the fly-half to dart over the line.
Lare Erogbogbo burst clear from halfway to get the seventh try to raise a loud cheer from the crowd – there is little more rugby supporters like to see then a player galloping away.
And the seventh try saw Du Toit break the line and then draw the last man before passing for Mike Phillips to touch down.
Cambridge University: Amesbury; Davies, Griffiths, Phillips, King; Gillies, Bell; Briggs, Burnett, Dixon, Bond, Lola Erogbogbo, Du Toit, Stanley, Dass.
Replacements: Hugkulstone, Somers, Moros, Rose, Bartholomew, Balfour, Triniman, Lare Erogbogbo.
Steele-Bodger XV: Pritchard (Coventry); Cook (KCS Wimbledon Old Boys), Burke (Coventry), Lombaard (Old Albanians), Thorley (Gloucester); Evans (Carmarthen Quins), Liebenberg (Cambridge); Ibrahim (Cambridge), Miles (Old Albanian), Brett (Southwold), Baker (Royal Free University Medical College), Hurrell (Stourbridge), Leo (London Welsh), Edwards (Cardiff), Farmer (Blackheath).
Referee: Luis Caviglia.
Scorers: 2min Gillies try – Gilles con (7-0), 7 Gillies try – Gillies con (14-0), 13 Pritchard try – Pritchard con (14-7), 18 Hugkulstone try – Gillies con (21-7), 33 Cook try (21-12), 40+2 Miles try – Pritchard con (21-19), 54 Du Toit try – Gillies con (28-19), 63 Gillies try – Gilles con (35-19), 65 Lare Erogbogbo try (40-19), 72 Phillips try – Gillies con (47-19), 75 Miles try – Burke con (47-26), 78 Davies try (52-26).