Ed Loftus grabs try double to help Cambridge University sink the Royal Navy
Light Blues end Lent Term on a high
Ed Loftus capped a good individual Lent Term and made sure Cambridge University signed off on a winning note with two tries in a 22-19 victory over the Royal Navy.
The winger is among a number of players that has caught the eye, with his stature and speed proving a menace to the opposition.
And the left winger started and finished the match in the same fashion, darting in to score after six and 80 minutes to make it two wins and two losses for the Light Blues this term.
It was a deserved result too, as the students took the bite out of the Royal Navy, more than matching them in the set piece.
To go toe-to-toe with the Forces side in the forwards and come out on a level pegging is really a rare occurrence for the university, but there was nothing to separate the teams.
It was the final match for Daniel Dass as captain, and alongside partners-in-crime Brian Du Toit and Tom Stanley in the back row, and the three were just as unrelenting as ever.
Their energy about the park, from breakdown to breakdown, has never wilted in the two terms and their ball carrying, for Dass in particular, has constantly pushed their team on to the front foot.
This has therefore given the backs the chance to shine, and no matter who has come into the team, they have all brought into the way of playing, which is two passes, off-loads and movements.
It is the stamp of head coach James Shanahan, and the creativity leaves opponents chasing their shadows as defences are stretched, with scramble the only source of recovery.
All of these components helped unravel the Royal Navy, who did not seem quite as fluent or cohesive as previous incarnations that have visited Grange Road.
That could of course be down to the development of their opponents in recent years, but they seldom breached the hosts’ defence. However, when they did find holes and punch through the line, they looked dangerous.
It was the phase play of the university though that led to the opening try, with Loftus grounding the ball in the corner after a flowing move along the line.
The Light Blues’ second try came after half an hour as their patience in the 22 paid off, with Simon Davies running a great line from deep to punch a hole in the defence to score beneath the posts, with Mike Phillips adding the conversion.
From their first meaningful foray into the hosts’ 22, the Royal Navy spread play to the right for Greg Welling to ground the ball just in time before running out of space, leaving the score at 12-7 at half time.
Six minutes into the second half, Rhys Dimmock-Williams made a break on the wing and after being tackled just short of the line, the Royal Navy recycled possession for captain Ben Priddey to touch down to make it 12-12.
The university regained the lead when more good work in the 22 led to scrum-half Seb Tullie picking up in front of the posts, and then dotting down a third try.
The Royal Navy had two players sin-binned, and then Chris Bell made a good break from deep and after moving play through a phase, Loftus got the ball down for his second try to give the university breathing space at 22-12.
There was a consolation try for the Royal Navy with the last play of the game as Gareth Rees’ quick tap-and-go penalty saw him touch down, but it was a deserved win for the Light Blues to end the term on a high.
Cambridge University: Gillies; King, Davies, Triniman, Loftus; Phillips, Tullie; Briggs, Burnett, Moros, Bond, Beckett, Stanley, Du Toit, Dass.
Replacements: Calvert, West, Wilson, Watson, Troughton, Bell, Girling, Story, Schoeman, Worrall-Clare.
Royal Navy: Humphrey; Welling, Buinamasi, Basher, Dimmock-Williams; Loydall, Moore; Jones, Priddey, Owen, Staniforth, Harvey, Fox, Trehan, Kava.
Replacements: Hughes, K Mason, Warner, D Mason, Rees, Cooper, Griggs, Myers, Chambers.
Referee: Andy Smith.
Sin bin: Royal Navy – Trehan (technical offence, 62).
Scorers: 6min Loftus try (5-0), 30 Davies try – Phillips con (12-0), 37 Welling try – Humphrey con (12-7), 46 Priddey try (12-12), 52 Tullie try (17-12), 80 Loftus try (22-12), 80+7 Rees try – Humphrey con (22-19).