The CURUFC Men and Women entered the Centrale 7s for the first time this year, heading to Paris with high hopes. The women faced some tough competition, starting with the Tuks from the University of Pretoria, which included the top try scorer for South Africa this year. Despite losing their first ever 7s match, there were plenty of positives to be taken and the team improved steadily throughout the course of the competition, facing a series of international teams including Ukraine, Belgium and Portugal.
The Women unfortunately finished bottom of their group, and so were entered into the Bronze final against Georgia. This fixture was to prove the Light Blue’s finest performance of the competition. Georgia managed to cross the line first but failed to make their conversion. Following this, Cambridge came back to score two tries, both by Mary Coleman under the posts, which were duly converted by Molly Byrne. In the final minute, Georgia managed to score one more try but their failure to convert the first resulted in a 14-12 win for CURUFC. Considering the fact that the CURUFC Women included players who had only started playing rugby this year, Captain Lara Gibson was delighted with the team’s progress. The squad is very much looking forward to continuing their 7s campaign throughout the summer.
The Men also took a very young squad to Paris, the majority of whom hope to be pushing for Varsity places in December. Drawn in a tough pool with Wales, Yamacia (a Fijian side with two Olympic gold medallists) and the Centrale Barbarians, Cambridge knew it would be a difficult start to the tournament. Taking on Yamacia first, the Fijians’ superior height and spectacular offloading game meant they took the victory four tries to one against the Light Blues. Next up were Wales and a poor performance cost Cambridge dearly as we conceded more than fifty points. Taking the heavy defeat on the chin, the boys rallied well and finished the day with a decisive 45 point victory over the Centrale Barbarians. Captain Charlie Amesbury showed his international class, crossing the line four times. After some ice baths and a rub down, liquid refreshments were served all evening.
Friday held the final two matches of the tournament for Cambridge, the first of which was against the Other Place. Conceding one try in the first half and another early in the second meant Cambridge had to chase the game. Some exceptional footwork late on from Jake Hennessey left a two on one to put Triniman over the line unchallenged but it was too little, too late and the game finished 14-5. Unfortunately Hennessey and Amesbury were both lost to injury after this game and squad numbers dwindled, contributing to a disappointing finish against Tianjin in the final game. Never to shy away from hard work however, the team put maximal effort into maintaining good EU relations, leading the vocals and other “activities” at the end of tournament celebrations. The trip was topped off by watching the internationals on Saturday and there was even time to see the Eiffel Tower and the Winston before heading home on the correct flights (at the second attempt).