Having won the last two Varsity meetings, UoL will have been expecting to win their fixture against JMU and they duly delivered. UoL were stronger all over the field, created more opportunities, and took more of those opportunities.
The first half saw UoL doing most of the attacking as Jack Shredlake on the right wing proved a constant threat to the JMU defence. Consistent pressure on the JMU defence regularly told as UoL were able to force penalties and find space in the JMU half. However, things could have been slightly different had JMU not had a try-scoring chance denied when the referee ruled the JMU left winger to have gone into touch while performing a quite incredible pick up before touching down. Beyond that chance, the first half was most certainly Liverpool’s as they ran in 27-0 up at half time.
Not unlike the Rugby League game earlier in the day, the second half of the Rugby Union fixture saw a resurgence in the trailing side as JMU looked to create far more opportunities in UoL’s half, who ended up spending large portions of the half defending. JMU were able to make this pressure tell as they put their first points on the board with an unconverted try. However, UoL’s displayed that they were the better drilled side throughout the game through their ability to consistently turn the ball over from line-outs and this betrayed the difference in quality between the two teams. JMU’s cause was not helped by a yellow card in the second half that reduced them to 14 men, and UoL capitalised on this lack of discipline to score a breakaway try that was subsequently converted to give them a 34-5 lead. Though JMU once again brought the pressure to bear on UoL’s defence after the restart, UoL were able to hold firm till the final whistle.
Ultimately, though JMU fought incredibly hard, the game was a mismatch in terms of quality and UoL never really looked like losing. The early distance they put between themselves and JMU meant they could afford to take it slightly easier in the second half and hold onto their lead. UoL have made it three in a row now and if JMU are going to want to wrestle it from them next year, there’s going to have to be a serious rise in quality on their part, or a serious drop in quality from UoL.
Final Score: 34-5