SBS Bank Hawkins

Hawkins Division 1

24 Jul 2012

UniversityAt a time when student numbers are down, University’s unbeaten run in the Hawkins Trophy this season is providing a welcome tonic according say club officials.

The students are unbeaten after three rounds. Last weekend they beat last season’s winner High School Old Boys 12-9. It means that after wins against Burnside and New Brighton the side has become the team to beat.

The re-run of last season’s Hawkins Trophy final was closely-fought. Both University’s Jamie Verran and High School Old Boys’ Stephan van Gruting did not kick terribly well but between them scored all the points.

For the students it is another sign that their season is heading in the right direction. They have had a number of injuries and that combined with other issues (such as university holidays) has made it difficult for coaches Vic Simpson and John McCaw to start with the same line-up.

“Consistency in our line-ups is the major reason why we have managed to string together three wins,” manager Rob Goodman says. “Being able to put the same team on the field is huge for any side and we are no exception.”

The students have also been helped by the performances of Crusaders Patrick Osborne and Luke Whitelock. Osborne was magnificent last weekend.

University has now qualified for the semi-finals. Rob says there is no chance they will cruise with two rounds remaining. “We hold the DCL Shield and that means a lot to the guys. We want to hold it over the summer.”

Times are tough in university rugby: numbers are down at the club as they are throughout the university. It has meant that some players have been brought up from social rugby to play in Division 1 this season.

“There have been positives for the Division 1 side and the club in general,” the club’s deputy chairman and operations manager Les

At the other end of the table, Sydenham and New Brighton have yet to record a win in the competition. Last weekend Sydenham was beaten 22-12 by Marist-Albion, while New Brighton was beaten 38-13 by Burnside.

In the Hawkins Plate, Christchurch and Linwood remain unbeaten: the red and blacks beat Sumner 51-20, while Linwood beat Shirley 33-31. Belfast had their first win of this competition, beating Lincoln University 37-19.

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