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Cambridge University RUFC Women’s team head coach Will Cotterill pleased with how squad is shaping up ahead of Varsity Match against Oxford University at StoneX Stadium





With this year’s Varsity Match a shade more than three weeks away, head coach Will Cotterill is pleased with the shape his Cambridge University RUFC Women’s side find themselves in.

Cotterill, who was appointed to the role last June, inherited a group that had endured a tricky and uncertain 2022/23 campaign – one that concluded with a first defeat in the prestigious fixture to their Oxford counterparts since 2016.

But after signing off for Christmas with a 20-5 win at Bristol University, Cotterill’s team has opened up the new year with eye-catching league victories at the expense of Oxford and Brunel University.

The team celebrate their recent victory over Brunel. Picture: Chris Fell
The team celebrate their recent victory over Brunel. Picture: Chris Fell

Cotterill said: “A lot of people around the club have said that this is the best buy-in that they’ve had from a group for some time.

“The team had a stinging defeat in the Varsity last year and while they started last season in the league quite well, results went a bit flat.

“The strength and conditioning team have said this is the best turnaround they’ve seen and during pre-season we worked hard on contact conditioning and tackle technique to limit injuries.

“We went into the season in good shape and then obviously to have some good results early, the momentum builds and the wheels start to turn from there.

“Beating the likes of Oxford and Brunel, not many teams do that and so that’s been massive for our confidence. It shows that we’re on the right track and things are coming together well.”

While Cotterill has been impressed with the technical ability of the squad, it is their physical output that has been the source of much satisfaction.

Upon taking the job he made clear his intentions to make the team both energetic and aggressive in their approach – and the players have responded.

“I always like my teams to be ones that opposition teams don’t want to face,” he added.

“We want to get things off the ground quickly and be in people’s faces when the chances come.

“It’s about trying to put the opposition team off from the way they want to play while also still looking to play the sort of rugby we want to.

“There is no talent required with that and I have to say that the energy and effort we’ve seen from everyone has been phenomenal.

“And then when you bolt on that we’ve put together a decent attack, our set-piece is looking strong and we’re scoring some fantastic tries, there is a real positive feeling.”

Attention has now switched to the players that will make the cut for the Varsity Match, which will take place at the StoneX Stadium on 2 March.

“It’s the least enjoyable part of the job, telling some people they haven’t made it,” said Cotterill.

“We’ve got probably 30 players who deserve to be there but we can only have 23.”



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