Women's 1st XV (BUCS 1)
Wed 28 Feb 2024  ·  BUCS Women's National League
Cardiff University RFC 1st XV Women
Tries: G Della-Savina, E OldfieldConversions: C Williamsq
Exeter University RFC
Women's 1st XV (BUCS 1)
Tries: K Smith (2), A Keyte, J Thomas, P Davis, D Preece (2), C Clarke (2), A SkeatesConversions: L DaddsYellow Carded: G Barker
Match Report: Cardiff University 12-52 Exeter University

Match Report: Cardiff University 12-52 Exeter University

EURFC Media28 Feb - 21:54
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Exeter secure the vital bonus point victory at a soaking Llanrumney.

Conditions were typical for a BUCS Wednesday, especially one in Wales, with heavy rain and wind for the entire warm-up. However, it eased just in time for kick-off as both teams ran out for a thrilling Women’s National League clash.

With the kick-off from Cardiff to start the game going out on the full, it set the tone for the rest of the game with dominant Exeter possession. An early opportunity for Exeter presented itself as Cardiff conceded a penalty, and a kick to the corner for an attacking lineout resulted in a strong driving maul, but it was turned over.

They remained persistent with their attacking intent, staying camped inside the Cardiff 22’ looking for that opening score. Eventually, the walls came tumbling down as Kate Smith spotted a gap at the edge of the ruck and dived over for the first try of the game.

With that opening score, the floodgates were opened, and Exeter came rumbling through with the tries. It was set up thanks to some excellent counter-rucking from the partnership of Clarke and Preece, who cleared through the Cardiff players, allowing Lucy Ward to gather the loose ball. From there, the ball was delivered to Smith, who doubled up on her tries, breaking the tackles of multiple defenders and getting the score.

The next try was brilliant to watch. Turnover ball just outside the Exeter 22’ led Langford and Preece to spot space down the short side, and they let Clarke loose. At full pace, she put the ball to the boot and chipped over the winger, which a chasing Preece gathered. Quick ruck ball meant the Cardiff defence was unorganised, and Keyte capitalised by diving over for another try from a forward.

Shortly after, it looked like Cardiff had an opportunity with a lineout inside the Exeter 22’. However, some brilliant lineout defensive reading from Keyte meant it was stolen and came to the ground. Summers spotted a gap on the blind side, delivering the ball to a pacey Clarke. She stepped past the fullback, running to the other side of the pitch, looking to beat the last covering defender, but couldn’t quite find the edge. Instead, she gave it to Palmer, who cut back inside and set up field position right on the opposition line. Cardiff gave away a penalty and it was prime Thomas territory. Jess tapped and went charging at the Cardiff defender, who had no hope as Thomas rumbled over the top, adding to the tally of tries on her 65th game for the club!

It was all Exeter attacking pressure, and Cardiff were struggling to hold on. They conceded another penalty, meaning Exeter had a line out inside the Cardiff 22’. From there, the rolling maul proved too powerful with a bit of Davis demolition at the back as the hooker dropped over for the try.

Just before the half-time whistle, it was finally time for one of the backs to get in on the scoring action. Cardiff had a scrum just beyond Exeter’s 10-metre line. They decided to try and break down the blind side, but Palmer shot up out of the defensive line quickly, reading the play beautifully by getting the intercept. She offloaded to Preece in the tackle, who used her blistering pace and sent the covering backrower to the floor with her lethal step as she ran it in under the posts.


Before I could even post the tweet to say the second half had started, Exeter were in again!! It was a Dani double as she began the second exactly as she finished the first with another scorcher of a try. She came in on a hard line breaking through the defence, again using her pace and step to beat the full-back and get the score.

Exeter were relentless with their attack and persisted constantly. From a set play off a line out, the ball came out wide to Preece, who broke down the wing and got Exeter up to Cardiff’s five-metre line, setting up a solid field position. After keeping it tight for a few phases, the ball came out wide from simple hands, and Clarke stepped inside to get her second.

However, this is the top flight of Women’s University rugby, and no opposition is going to go down without a fight. Cardiff were determined to do just that. The discipline from Exeter was beginning to slip as consecutive penalties were conceded, allowing Cardiff opportunities for possession inside the Exeter red zone. Despite Exeter’s best efforts, eventually, they went over for their first score of the game.

They followed it up with another shortly after, and once again, it was ill-discipline from the girls in green and white that allowed Cardiff the opportunities. Cardiff kept it tight from a tap-and-go of their own, and the forwards carried it over for their second try.

But Exeter weren’t finished and far from it; they wanted to put a statement down in Wales ahead of facing the Scottish side, Edinburgh, at Sandy Park next week. The next try was just excellent teamwork, as every player was involved. Exeter worked the ball from the halfway line carry by carry, overwhelming the Cardiff defence. Eventually, when they got within range, Skeates bumped off the would-be tackler and dived over to secure the try.

There was one more try in this game, and who else would score it other than Connie Clarke?! Exeter had a scrum inside the Cardiff 22’, and Anna Richardson did as she does so often for Exeter and broke from the base charging forwards. She got the offload away to Clarke, who finished it off.


It’s a critical five-point victory for Exeter, who are still looking to secure that all-important second place in the league. All eyes now turn to the double-header on the 9th March at Sandy Park against Edinburgh.

Match details

Match date

Wed 28 Feb 2024




BUCS Women's National League

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Exeter University RFC 1st XV Women (BUCS 1)
Cardiff University RFC 1st XV Women
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