Varsity Victory for The Saints

Hannah reflects on The Saints being crowned Varsity champions this weekend.

This Saturday, the St Andrews men’s 1XV travelled to Peffermill Playing fields in the capital for the annual Scottish Varsity Championship match. After a solid start and pulsating second-half performance the Saints saw themselves crowned champions for the second year in a row.

After their 14-24 victory, I caught up with third year, Adam Ivins, to reflect on the impressive win and to look ahead at the upcoming season.

(Left to Right) John Paterson, Adam Ivins and Brodie Wells. – Photo [Hannah Peart]
Edinburgh came out raring to go and made a solid start, scoring a try shortly after kick-off. Were you at all worried that you would not be able to pull it back after a somewhat shaky start?

It took a while to settle into the match and Edinburgh did have a quick start, managing to get the first points on the board. I never lost faith in the boys and knew that we had plenty of time left to turn around the course of the game. Even though in the first half we were 11-7 down, we knew we were well within the game, constantly scoring just enough points for Edinburgh to stay well within our reach. We managed to have quick regroup after their try and our aim was to get the ball out of our half and not mess around with the ball the back. We knew that if we were in their half we would capable of threatening the try line and ultimately getting more points on the scoreboard.

What do you think set you above Edinburgh?

In possession we definitely used the ball a lot better than Edinburgh and we were definitely a threat when we had the ball. Although Edinburgh had a fair bit of possession, it was mainly in their own half as they were unable to break our strong line of defence, displaying our composure and concentration.

Where there any standout performers in your opinion?

Second year, Fergus Cato played exceptionally well. He is a player that is consistent and someone that you can rely on throughout the whole match. He was playing in the back row at the weekend but he also was throwing the ball at the line-out which is one of the main areas we were able to exploit.

Special mention also has to got to our captain, John Paterson. He also had an awesome performance, constantly organising the team and leading by example throughout the 80 minutes. He deservedly got man of the match, indicating the importance he has for our teams success.

(Left to Right), Ian McNaught, Peter Dodd and Fergus Cato -Photo [Lucy Niven]
How did you prepare and train for the big match?

Training did increase in the couple of weeks leading up to the varsity match in order to ensure that we were all at peak fitness and as prepared as we could be to face Edinburgh. We we all focused on the big match and so we did not go out and the team didn’t drink for a week and a half which meant no late nights but instead, often, early training sessions.

How are you going to carry this momentum forward.

We need to make sure that we carry the momentum from Varsity into our league. We got promoted last season and so we will undoubtedly be playing against tougher opposition this season. This means we can’t get complacent as we are now in uncharted territory. The games will be tougher than last year’s matches and so we will need to perform consistently well and keep improving in order for the season to be another one full of success.

Although you came out victorious, which areas will you need to strengthen?

Even though we put in a solid performance and managed to come out on top against Edinburgh, we do have areas which we need to strengthen. We need to be more composed in high-pressure situations but I think this is something that will come with time and more matchplay, especially as the season goes on. We are an organised team and we always have a solid game plan but in match situations we need to keep composure and then we will be able to continue winning tough matches, like the one on Saturday.

I think the backline has a lot to give going forward and so I am excited for them to improve and strengthen our team even more as the season goes on. We have to remember this was after one of our first matches of the season and although we are delighted we won Varsity, we want to remain focused on finishing as high as we can in the league this year.

University of St Andrews Rugby Club celebrating with the Varsity Trophy -Photo [Hannah Peart].
Congratulations to the team and the club, for an impressive achievement! The team want to thank everyone who travelled down to Edinburgh to support the Saints at Peffermill playing fields.

Scottish Varsity Champions, I think it has a nice ring to it!

St Andrews Starting XV: 1. Harry Rodgers, 2. Josh van Vuuren, 3. Sam Wright, 4. John Paterson (C), 5. Liam Kerr, 6. Ian McNaught, 7. Fergus Cato, 8. Peter Dodd, 9. Ross Cadzow, 10. James MacDonald, 11. Cameron Ledingham, 12. Brodie Wells, 13. Drew Cadzow, 14. Adam Ivins, 15. Sean Varty

St Andrews Replacements: 16. Paddy Nixon, 17. John Gildea, 18. John Belcher-Heath, 19. Max Jackson, 20. Tom Regis, 21. Rory Thain, 22. David Macrae, 23. Alfie Gardner

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