Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Culley Is So Proud as TN Go Down Fighting at Twickers; UNIVERSITY RUGBY

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Culley Is So Proud as TN Go Down Fighting at Twickers; UNIVERSITY RUGBY

Article excerpt

NORTHUMBRIA University women's Rugby Union firsts failed to achieve the perfect end to their fairytale season as they were beaten 20-5 in the 2016 BUCS Championship final at Twickenham.

The defeat came at the hands of Cardiff Metropolitan, who went one step further than last year to claim their 10th BUCS title in rugby union.

Despite the result, Northumbria's head of rugby Si Culley was keen to applaud his players' efforts on reaching the final.

He said: "The girls should be extremely proud of what they have done.

"To win the Premier North in our first season and then compete the way we have done in the final is a real achievement.

"At the start of the season we set out a long term plan to become a force and I think we have done that in our first year.

"We fully deserved to be playing at Twickenham and for that alone I cannot be anything but proud of the players."

Northumbria, who were only promoted to the Premier North Division last season, enjoyed large parts of possession on a pristine pitch.

Their possession eventually paid off when a well-worked line out was driven over the line, leaving stand-in captain Alice Sandham to score Northumbria's only try of the match.

Sandham said: "Not many people can say they have scored a try at the home of English rugby.

"I really cannot put the feeling into words.

"It was an honour to captain the side at Twickenham but to score a try is really something else."

Northumbria's hopes on this occasion were all but over just six minutes after the break when Wales international Elli Norket nabbed her second try of the match and Cardiff 's fourth.

However, Culley remained optimistic and has already set his sights firmly on next year's final.

He added: "We went into this final without England international Abbie Scott and our captain Caity Mattinson and still gave a good account of ourselves. …

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