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Canterbury Wins Battle of Universities
Canterbury University beat their Lincoln counterparts to win the Hart/O’Reilly Trophy at Lincoln earlier this month.
This annual derby between these two great clubs at Division 1 and levels below has become one of the great fixtures of the Canterbury rugby calendar.
Not only do both clubs play the game in a more free-flowing way than perhaps other clubs do, but both clubs are united in their desire for rugby to mean more than what happens on the field of play.
“It was a terrific day and although Lincoln did not come out on top of the ledger, everyone enjoyed it,” chairman of the Lincoln University club John Ryan says.
On the field Canterbury won the Division 1 match 16-15, while Canterbury won the Division 2 match 18-5 and the Premier Colts match 20-13. Lincoln won the Under-20 Colts match 18-12.
“The Division 1 match was one of the most exciting and could have gone either way,” John says. “Goal kicking was the difference in the end. Lincoln may have edged Canterbury in the forwards, but Canterbury may have edged Lincoln in the backs.”
At lunch-time an ‘Old Rivals’ lunch took place at Lincoln. Attended by around 30 people (including the widow of Laurie O’Reilly), many memories were shared between the two great rivals.
“Lincoln University is a great setting for these sorts of occasions,” John says. “Not only are the facilities terrific, but the grounds themselves are maintained by the curators from New Zealand Cricket and so they are in terrific condition and prepared expertly.”
The day was part of ongoing attempts at Lincoln University to rekindle the great rugby traditions at the university. Next season will be the 130th anniversary of the club and the 30th anniversary of the championship-winning 1981 Lincoln College (as it was then) side.
The club has however lost two of its senior players to the Ukrainian national league, while it is also currently without promising Crusader Sam Whitelock.
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