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Entertainers Cambridge University RUFC put on a show to beat Army A for ninth successive win

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Tom Walton scored Cambridge University's opening try against the Army A. Picture: Rich Marsham
Tom Walton scored Cambridge University's opening try against the Army A. Picture: Rich Marsham

Success breeds success and the hunger of Cambridge University this Lent Term has become contagious.

The latest game in their nine-match winning run was a 42-7 victory over the Army A at Grange Road, which is proving to be the place to be entertained at the start of the new decade.

It was a development side from the Armed Forces, and they certainly showed in patches their ability, especially with ball in hand and, in the second half, at the scrum.

However, they came up against a Light Blues team that has got the bit between their teeth and playing some of the most dynamic and collective rugby produced by the university in a long time.

Stephen Leonard is setting the example, having been elected captain for a second year in a row, and, to a man, everyone is happy to take his lead and go with him.

It may be strange to use the term collective rugby as, after all, rugby is a team sport, but it is the way that they hunt as a pack to retrieve possession, defend as a group, attack as a unit and show leadership in all positions.

The Army looked like they had an eagerness to get on the front foot whenever possible, and if a few early passes in the first half had stuck in hand then who knows if the outcome may have been closer, but the students swarmed round them in quick time to snuff out most attacks.

The visitors were also on the back foot as soon as the 45th second. Tom Walton, whose displays mature by the passing game, cut a smart angle to open up the Army defence to touch down. Mike Phillips landed the conversion to start an exemplary night from the tee.

Fergus Jemphrey was making some dangerous breaks from deep in his own half to turn defence into attack and, following one in the 13th minute, Miles Huppatz was stopped just short of the line from a catch and drive, and Leonard was on hand to get his first try of the night.

For quick thinking alone, the university’s third score has to be a contender for try of the season at Grange Road.

Awarded a penalty in the 22, Phillips looked set to go for touch to set up a rolling maul but, at the last second, turned and kicked cross field to Dougal Russell, who caught the high ball to touch down.

The winger soon had his second of the match five minutes later, taking a pass from Al Gliksten to sprint clear to touch down.

Huppatz had a try of his own before half time, from another catch and drive, and Phillips’ fifth conversion out of five made it 35-0.

The scoring slowed after the break as the changes brought the Army back into a game that was contested with honest endeavour and good spirit throughout.

Leonard got his second in the 64th minute, and it was a good team try as they used the width of the pitch and hit holes in the defence for the captain to eventually breakthrough on the 22 to score.

With the scrum getting the upper hand, the Army earned two successive penalties under the posts, and moved play wide for Bdr Farrow to get the touchdown for a consolation converted try to make it 42-7.

It means that the Light Blues will head into their final match of the term and academic year against the Royal Navy next Wednesday (February 12) seeking a 10th successive win.

Cambridge University: Gatus; Russell, Triniman, Phillips, Jemphrey; Bell, Gliksten; Collins, Huppatz, Harborne, Beckett, Smart, Walton, McMahon, Leonard.

Replacements: Schusman, Jackson, Cook, Pettit, Tola-Obembe, Saunders, Laing, Lovelace, Baines.

Army A: Fus James (R Welsh); LCpl Rokoduguni (Scots), Pte Waqandrola (RLC), LCpl Ward (RMP), Lt Issac (RRF); Air TPR Clayton (AAC), Capt Duffus (AAC); Pte Vuli (RLC), Pte Kotobalavu (RLC), Maj Smith (RLC), Cpl Lyons (REME), LCpl Hartley (Rifles), Cpl McLean (RE), Lt Stevenson (RE), LSgt Kabunicaucau (Scots Guards).

Replacements: Capt Butler (RE), LCpl Filipe (REME), Cpl Roberts (RAMC), Bdr Farrow (RA), Cfn Vakalalabure (REME), Pte Nadaubale (RLC), Sgt Matacagi (RAC), Gdsm (Cloete) (Gren Gds).

Scorers: 1min Walton try - Phillips con (7-0), 13 Leonard try - Phillips con (14-0), 23 Russell try - Phillips con (21-0), 28 Russell try - Phillips con (28-0), 36 Huppatz try - Phillips con (35-0), 64 Leonard try - Phillips con (42-0), 74 Farrow try - James con (42-7).

Referee: Harvey Knight.

Sin bin: Army - Issac (technical offence, 22).

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