UWE comeback win at Sardis Road secures back-to-back varsity success

UWE and USW pack down at Sardis Rd. Pic: Harry Tovey

By Harry Tovey

The University of the West of England made it back-to-back Varsity wins in a feisty encounter at Sardis Road.

Tries from Jake Powles, Will Hughes, Angus Buckland and two from Ben Evans accompanied by on-point kicking from Tom Wilton proved to be the difference, as UWE emerged 36-26 victors to follow up last year’s success – this time on Welsh soil. 

USW made the visitors work hard as tries from Lloyd Morris, accompanied by one try and accurate kicking from stand out performer Callum Edwards proved not to be enough at Pontypridd RFC’s House of Pain. 

UWE started this Anglo-Welsh encounter the more dominant, as just after four minutes openside Evans crossed the whitewash for the first try of the afternoon.

Minutes later the visitors were penalised for being offside and Edwards, from impressive distance, scored the opening points for the hosts. 

Fly-half Edwards struck the ball to perfection again as he added another three points to the scoreboard from a long way out. 

After being penalised for not releasing at the ruck, UWE found themselves behind for the first time in the match as Edwards converted another three points. 

The visitors responded accordingly as James Mackenzie broke through the hosts’ defence and off-loaded to Angus Buckland who crossed for the visitors’ second.

However, Edwards slotted another penalty, quickly followed by USW’s first try of the afternoon as vice-captain Lloyd Morris went over to put the hosts back 19-14 in front going into half-time. 

It was a quick start to the second half, as after missing his shot at the posts, fly-half Edwards scored the hosts’ second after a brilliant break from debutant Luke Richardson. 

The visitors responded quickly with a try of their own as Evans scored his second of the game after breaking through USW’s defence. 

With 10 minutes left on clock Will Hughes broke through USW’s defence and quickly kicked down field. The ball deflected off the post protecters and Wilton added the extras to make it level. 

USW were then penalised with five minutes left on the clock for a high tackle and Wilton held his nerve to put the visitors back ahead.

With the clock nearly in red, replacement Powles secured victory for UWE as he crossed over in the corner to secure the 2024 Varsity for UWE.