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Lincoln University Claim Hawkins Cup
Thirty-two years after their last Division 1 title Lincoln University put themselves back on top by winning the Hawkins Cup for 2013 on 15th June. They secured the cup with an in the end comfortable win against Linwood.
Co-coach John Haggart says that he was naturally delighted with the success. “Delighted, but with a degree of surprise,” he admits. “With the Test match everything was abuzz but we got together on Sunday to celebrate.”
Lincoln University knew of the different permutations there could have been. Not surprisingly the coaches had one ear on what was happening at St Bede’s.
“We heard that Marist Albion had scored three tries and were up against University and so that made us anxious, especially as we were behind at that stage.”
Lincoln University knew what they had to do but were focused on playing well and not necessarily only on scoring tries. Yet there was no panic when they went behind Linwood early.
Lincoln University have shown an ability this season to back themselves. “Our set piece really came through, as it has all season,” John says when explaining the reasons for his side’s success. “We’ve scrummaged well and our lineout has also been effective.”
Another reason has been the overall strength of the squad. “We have 23 guys playing as a team,” John says. “The guys have embraced the structure that we have devised and have developed extraordinary self-belief.”
John says that both he and co-coach Dave Perrin have taken a more hands-off approach to the side this season to date. “What this has done I think is help grow the guys not only as players but as people as well.”
The 1981 championship-winning team was thought about by the coaching staff during the week but was not discussed with the team. “We did not want to put any pressure on the guys. Still, we looked at the photo on Saturday and saw the great names that that side had.”
As with the 1981 team, many of the 2013 Lincoln University side may go on to great things in rugby. Certainly three of the side, Crusaders Robbie Fruen, Dominic Bird and Jordan Taufua, already have.
The focus for Lincoln University now of course is the Hawkins Trophy. “It will be challenge for us to live up to that expectation,” John says. “We will talk about it but I have no doubt that the guys will be able to cope with it.”
John says the Cup win was a terrific reward for the club’s administrators and the university as a whole.
Photo - Graeme Campbell (Lincoln University)
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