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Cambridge University RUFC suffer defeat to impressive Trinity College Dublin

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Tim Andrew touched down for Cambridge University RUFC against Trinity College Dublin. Picture: Keith Heppell
Tim Andrew touched down for Cambridge University RUFC against Trinity College Dublin. Picture: Keith Heppell

Trinity College Dublin proved too strong for Cambridge University in a 35-14 win at Grange Road on Wednesday night.

The Irish students have consistently stood out as one of the most impressive visitors to the Light Blues in recent times in their bi-annual trip to the UK, none more so than when they won 50-0 in 2016, and while this performance was not quite to those levels, it was still too much for their English counterparts.

It has been far from plain sailing for Cambridge this Lent Term, with a succession of injuries leading to a continuous change of combinations and pairings that has hindered them in picking up any real momentum, and it was no different against Trinity College Dublin who in winger Ronan Quinn had the most eye-catching player of the evening.

When the No 11 was given the ball, he pinned back his ears to take flight and there was simply no stopping him - Cambridge LX club may be playing Oxford's Greyhounds at Iffley Road in the second team Varsity Match this Saturday, but the Light Blues seemed to be facing one themselves given Quinn's fleet of foot.

Despite the travails this term, the Cambridge pack has given as good as it has got and while there were times in the first half when they were being driven back - which resulted in a couple of tries for the visitors - it was not a case that they had to cede field position all game, and they grew in strength in the second half.

With the makings of a cornerstone, and a full complement to be restored for further options, it looks like there will be plenty to build on in the weeks leading up to the Varsity Match on April 2.

Given the calibre of the opposition in Trinity College Dublin, it was not an ideal situation to have so many absentees but one thing that has been apparent all academic year is that given some good quality ball and space to run into, Cambridge have the fire power in the back line to reap the rewards.

Sam Odu and Tim Andrew have pace to burn as they showed against the touring side, and it will be a question of blending and finding the right combinations once everyone is fully fit.

Trinity College Dublin took the lead in the 12th minute as they hit the line with patience and pace for prop Giuseppe Coyne to touch down under the posts, and Michael O'Kennedy added the conversion. It was 14-0 five minutes later as a catch and drive from a line-out saw the visitors burrow their way over the line, with Alan Francis emerging with the ball, and the extras were also added.

Jinking this way and that, flyer Quinn got the third try in the 28th minute having made the break from halfway and it was looking a bit ominous for Cambridge.

However, they gathered their composure to grow as a force in the second half.

There was a fourth try from Trinity first though as an overlap out wide created the space for Matt Jungmann to dive over, and the conversion made it 28-0.

But there was a quick response from the hosts as Andrew got the ball and cut inside to run a smart line to burst clear for a try under the posts which Alex King converted.

The try of the night came in the 56th minute as Quinn got the ball not far outside his own 22, and with feet as quick as a hiccup was crossing the try line within the blink of an eye, and O'Kennedy's conversion made it 35-7.

Odu showed his own great feet in the 71st minute to dance his way through a gap and then put on the afterburners to touch down for the Light Blues, with King adding the extras.

There were to be no more scores, and so while it may have been Trinity College Dublin's night, Cambridge can take heart from their display, especially the drawn second half against a strong opponent, as they look a little further down the road at the potential resources at their disposal.

Next stop on the way to facing Oxford at Twickenham on April 2 is a home clash with Coventry next Wednesday (March 16).

Cambridge University: Dougal Russell; Ikechi Mere, Jonny Andrews, Sam Odu, Tim Andrew; Alex King, David Holdroyd; Ben Jackson, James Wright, Matt Petitt, Jason Kururangi, Charlie Friend, Stephen Leonard, Tom Walton, Archie Smeaton.

Replacements: Luke Parry, Paddy Harris, Laurence Marwood, Dan Montesino Jones, Demi Obembe, Charles Favell, Adam Wylie, Angus McIntosh.

Trinity College Dublin: Aran Egan; Liam McMahon, Matt Jungmann, Gavin Jones, Ronan Quinn; Michael O'Kennedy, Louis O'Reilly; Giuseppe Coyne, Ben Nel, Thomas Connolly, Harry Sheridan, Jamie Berrisford, Arn Coleman, Alan Francis, Diamuid McCormack.

Replacements: Donnacha Mescal, Darren Magee, Neil Howard, Jody Booth, Cormac King, Aran Egan, Tiarnan McCloskey, Louis McDonough.

Statistics: 12min Coyne try - O'Kennedy con (0-7), 17 Francis try - O'Kennedy con (0-14), 28 McMahon try - O'Kennedy con (0-21), 49 Jungmann try - O'Kennedy con (0-28), 53 Andrew try - King con (7-28), 56 McMahon try - O'Kennedy con (7-35), 71 Odu try - King con (14-35).

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