Just two years ago, Somerville College’s men’s rugby team was demoted to Division Five of the University’s inter-collegiate competition, the lowest division in the contest.
Since then, however, the men have enjoyed mounting success, winning a double-promotion to Division Three over the course of the 2011-2012 University year. (There are two College Rugby seasons per academic year.)
The 120-to-5 win over Magdalen is a sign of how times have changed. Somerville hasn’t played Magdalen in several seasons due to sitting in a much lower league, but the two are now Division Three competitors.
The 2012-2013 season was a painful one for Men’s Rugby at Somerville. Despite beating Division One-placed Christ Church in the semi-final of the Cuppers Plate and only narrowing losing to Exeter (Division Two) in the Final, the men suffered several injuries and missed out on promotion.
But there is great hope that this season may provide better news.
“This year the squad is the strongest it’s been in my time here – and I’d imagine for a couple of years before that as well,” said captain Stephen O’Driscoll, who matriculated in 2011. “Thanks to a massive points difference, we’re currently top of Division Three and we have very strong prospects of both winning the pool and being promoted to Division Two.”
O’Driscoll said it was hard to choose stand-out players thanks to good performances right across the team. Sam Williams, however, deserves special mention for an impressive seven tries.
Rumours that the captain might be related to Irish Rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll are yet to be confirmed.
“Unfortunately, I’m not related as far as I know,” said the younger O’Driscoll. “But there has to be a link somewhere down the line!”
SOMERVILLE MEN’S RUGBY TEAM AFTER THE FINAL OF THE CUPPERS PLATE: