Rugby Blues beat Bodgers in sensational comeback

Felix de Grey 28 November 2013

A late Cambridge try gave them a hard-earned victory over a stubborn Steele-Bodger XV. This annual game traditionally acts as a warm-up to the Varsity match, and with Oxford to come on December 12th, the Blues will be delighted with the spirit they showed in recovering a large deficit. Last time out, against a weak London Scottish side, Cambridge had triumphed 77-0. This was a much sterner examination.

In the first half, the away side’s expansive and open rugby proved too sharp for a narrow Cambridge defence. The Blues went ahead with a Courtenay Morrison penalty, but this was to prove a false dawn, as the Steele-Bodger XV replied with four well-worked tries. Had Cambridge not hit back with a Charlie O’Sullivan try of their own just before half-time, they would have been in danger of losing sight of their opponents all together. As it happened, they went into the break 22-10 down, and the hope remained.

After a poor performance in the tackle in the first half, Cambridge came out with more bite in the second. The approach paid almost instant dividend as the Blues’ Ilia Cherezov intercepted to run clear and put Cambridge back to within a converted try. Sensing a change in momentum, the Blues made four replacements. Crucially, the introduction of half back pair Harry Peck and Don Stevens added guile in front of the Steele-Bodger defence. Their impact was hardly immediate, as the away side rallied to score two more tries, but the boost in creativity and fitness levels was clear to see. With the wind in their sails at the last, Cambridge hooker Patrick Calvert and replacement prop Sam Alderson pulled the score back to 30-34, before a driving maul carried Andrew Smith over the line to win it for the Blues.

They will be looking for similar grit next time against Sydney University. After that, Twickenham awaits.