5th February 2018, 09:28 | university
England Universities North won the annual University Origin fixture after overcoming their Southern counterparts 34-16 in a competitive contest at Loughborough University on Saturday evening.
Two tries from Marcus Stock along with further scores from Jason Bass, Alex Clegg, Jed Mawdsley, Lewis Fairhurst and Joe Capless ensured the Northern students prevailed in the prestigious clash, whilst Elliot Hall, Lewis Mason and Harry Leek crossed for the South.
The Maroons were in a rampant mood in the early stages, just three minutes had passed when Jason Bass battled past a determined Southern backline to open the scoring, subsequently Sam Druce successfully kicked his first goal of the contest.
However, the South responded well and found themselves level seven minutes later as Elliot Hall emphatically finished off a well-worked move from the Blues, Ben Stead converted the extras.
Hall’s effort seemed to instill some intensity into the Southern ranks, a combination of hard running and quick steps was proving arduous for the Northern backline to handle.
This pressure soon paid dividends when a quick play the ball caught the Northern backline off guard before James Mason crossed over the whitewash, Stead converted his second successive goal to extend the margin between the two sides to six points.
While the Northern students trailed in the contest, they regrouped and were rewarded for their efforts in the final minute of the half, Alex Clegg broke 30 metres to dive over in the left hand corner after a sublime offload from Jason Bass and quick hands from Adam Bielby.
Unfortunately for the Maroons, Druce's conversion flew wide of the posts, leaving the Southern students with a narrow 12-10 lead at the interval.
North Head Coach Andy Proctor will have been delighted with his side's response after the break - just seconds had passed as Jed Mawdsley powered over to turn the game on its head.
The Maroons quickly grew in confidence and extended their lead moments later when Marcus Stock capped off a fine move to claim his first try of the evening, Druce added the extras to take his side’s tally up to 20 points.
Unfortunately for the South they weren't finished there, Ryan Langton's break resulted in Lewis Fairhurst crossing over to inflict further misery on their deflated counterparts, Druce successfully converted his final goal of the evening.
The North were dominant throughout the second period and scored two quickfire tries to emphatically extend their lead.
First, Stock produced the finish of the night after executing an acrobatic try in the corner, before Joe Capless went over after some quick hands from Clegg.
Good day down at @LboroSport for the @UniversityRL North vs South #UniOriginRL 🏉 It was a great spectacle, as always, and all players did themselves & their Universities proud 👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/9QDBDQXEMu— Richard Tate (@R_Tate89) February 4, 2018
While the South were second best for the majority of the half, Head Coach Ben Whincup will have been pleased with side's finish; Callum Bradbury latched onto a loose ball before finding the onrushing Harry Leek who fought off several challenges before battling over to claim a consolation try seconds before the final hooter.
England Universities North: Jason Bass, Nathan Hill, Matty Chrimes, Alex Clegg, Joe Capless, Sam Druce, Kieran Smith, Ben Gray, Reece Brunt, Marcus Stock, Connor McCallum, Adam Bielby, Ryan Langton, Lewis Fairhurst, Lee Registe, Harry Aaronson, Nathan Ainsworth, Will Jubb, Kyle Saunders, Jed Mawdsley.
England Universities South: Harry Chapman, Jack Ellis, Errol Carter, Josh Spearing, Elliot Hall, Harry Leek, Ben Stead, Dan Gover, Luke Stephens, Lewis Taylor, Luke Shaw, Munashe Fumhanda, James Mason, Dylan Bale, Callum Bradbury, Lewis Russell, Alex Ford, Daniel Jones, Callum Merritt, Dante Morley-Samuels.