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Northumbria and Cardiff Met leading the way in BUCS Super Rugby 14/11/2017

Over the past few seasons at the top level of Men’s university rugby, the same familiar sides have tasted success. Hartpury College, Exeter and Loughborough have made up the last three BUCS finals, but since the introduction of BUCS Super Rugby, are we now starting to see a change at the top?

With the nine best teams in country competing week in week out for a place at Twickenham, the level of performance on a Wednesday and Friday is set at a high standard. In turn, we are guaranteed exciting and enthralling rugby and this year, we have been treated to some outstanding action.

But rather than the usual front-runners grabbing the headlines, there are two new sides who are leading the way; Northumbria and Cardiff Met.

Both teams head into this week’s fixtures level on points at the summit of the BUCS Super Rugby table and currently on top of the pile are Northumbria.

Last year, the northeast outfit picked up just four wins in the inaugural BUCS Super Rugby season which led to them finishing sixth in the division. To challenge for a top four place may have seemed beyond them heading into this campaign, but they have proved many people wrong by the way they have begun this term.

The Tyneside club have won five of their six matches, including victories against three of last year’s top four. They have already surpassed the number of wins which they achieved in the last campaign and with a Varsity match against Durham to come on Friday, Darren Fearn’s men are in no mood to take their foot off the pedal.

Taking a look through their side, Northumbria managed to keep a large bulk of their players from last season which makes their progress even more remarkable. Their only loss in this campaign came against last year’s finalists, Exeter, but Fearn has been quick to play down the success his side have had this term.

Fearn told the RFU website earlier this season that Northumbria have a four year plan in place so they keen not get ahead of themselves, but another side which seem to have a solid vision in mind are Cardiff Met.

The Welsh university run nine teams with their 1st XV university side currently heading in the right direction. Met are level on points with Northumbria as things stand, but have played one more game than the league leaders.

Danny Milton’s side have won six of their seven matches and considering they finished one place below Northumbria last year, what they have achieved so far this season must have exceeded expectations.  Having said this, the facilities and playing opportunities Cardiff Met offer, point towards success and the Welsh side are now seeing the benefits of the foundations they have in place.

Met also has a rich history of producing Welsh talent including the likes of Ken Owens and Alex Cutherbert and their current crop of stars are shining brightly this season. Wales U20 international Alex Dombrandt along with Dawid Rubasniak (Dragons) and Max Llewllyn (Blues) have played their part this term and that sprinkling of quality seems to have helped Met take a step up to a new level.

Last year, both Northumbria and Cardiff Met finished 20+ points outside of the top four. This season, they sit 10 points clear of fifth placed Loughborough. The guard may well be changing in BUCS Super Rugby and it is very refreshing to see.

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