1st XV (BUCS 1)
Wed 07 Feb 2024  ·  BUCS Super Rugby
Durham University
Exeter University RFC
1st XV (BUCS 1)
Tries: M Hallam, B Joseland, L Gulley (3), J VajnerConversions: C McCaig (3)
Durham University vs Exeter University

Durham University vs Exeter University

EURFC Media8 Feb - 16:21
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Durham Outlasts Exeter in 42-36 Nail-biter

Round 14 of the League saw the Exeter side make the tough trip away to Durham for an evening of tense rugby.

The game opened up with a swift try from Durham, as they spotted a gap in the Exeter line and drove over for the points. The conversion sailed over, which gave the hosts an early 7-0 lead. Exeter’s discipline let them down early on, and a conceded penalty inside their ’22 gave Durham the penalty kick. With an early lead of 10-0, the visitors had to swiftly ramp up the pressure to respond to the scoreboard. Precise phases led Exeter into the opposition’s ’22, and with a reach for the line, Milo Hallam secured the first try for the visitors. A missed conversion took the score to 10-5, only ten minutes into the clash.

An early penalty off the restart gave Ben Coen the set up for the kick into touch. The cracking kick set Exeter up four metres away from the white-wash. The visitors took advantage of the opportunity and a stretched outside pass from Charlie McCaig to Benjy Joseland gave Exeter their second try. An even score of 10-10 reflected the tense competitors of this clash, and certainly forecasted for an intense north south battle. Durham’s discipline errors gave the boys in green a penalty inside the opposition’s ’22. Off the lineout, the mighty maul formed, and Louie Gulley went over for the points. Charlie McCaig struck well off the tee, which saw Exeter take the reins on the score to 10-17.

As the game resumed, error struck for Exeter as pressure from the Durham side mounted. A penalty awarded inside the visitor’s ’22 gave Durham the chance to take the three points with the kick. A solid kick saw the opposition creep up with the updated score of 13-17. Durham’s streak didn’t finish here as a consecutive penalty saw the host power through for their third try of the clash. With the extras secured, the Durham side swiftly took the lead.

As the clock ticked on, both teams wanted to have the upper hand on their return to the field. Nevertheless, the final ten minutes of the game saw Durham be presented with a yellow card with Exeter metres from the try line. The penalty gave Exeter the line out and off the maul it was Louie Gulley who dived over for his second try of the game. Charlie McCaig’s nailed the kick and Exeter headed to the changing room with the narrow lead of 20-24.


With the pressure still well and truly on, both teams returned to the pitch raring with energy. An early infringement against Exeter saw the visitors be presented with a yellow card, which led to an early try for Durham as they used the advantage of an extra player. Continued lacks in discipline for Exeter gave Durham a consecutive penalty inside their ’22. The hosts took the three points with the strike of the boot, and Durham extended their lead with 28-24.

With strength in their phases, Exeter made their way down the field, and with the line out in their favour, Louie Gulley scored his hat trick as he went over for the try. A missed conversion saw Exeter with the one-point lead, but with plenty of time left on the clock, it was all to play for. Durham responded with ease, and as the scrum half broke from the line the hosts had bagged another try. With the added extras, the score stood at 35-29, with less than ten minutes to go.
Both teams were eager to retain possession of the ball, as the clock ticked on. A penalty for Exeter gave the side the line out on the 5m line, and they knew what they needed to do. Soon enough, the pack ventured closer to the white wash and it was Joe Vajner who stretched for the line. Charlie McCaig’s kick was crucial for the side, and he delivered- which saw Exeter with the nail-biting one point lead of 35-36. Off the restart, an unfortunate error from the Exeter side saw Durham charge through the green defence for the final play of the game. Durham’s conversion sailed through and the hosts claimed the win.


It was a tense battle at Hollow Drift where Durham emerged victorious, although Exeter’s determination was evident until the final whistle, it wasn’t enough. The side look ahead to next week’s spotlight Anglo-Welsh Clash fixture against Cardiff University at Sandy Park.

Match details

Match date

Wed 07 Feb 2024




BUCS Super Rugby

League position

Exeter University RFC 1st XV Men (BUCS 1)
Durham University
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