Rugby Union / UAU Final: Bracken's vain brilliance

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The Independent Online
Loughborough Students. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

Bristol University. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

(aet; score at 80 min 18-18)

THE universities' final at Twickenham is habitually among the least memorable occasions of the season but yesterday Loughborough, perennial champions, and Bristol slugged out a match of rare passion and quality.

Whoever play Loughborough are rank outsiders but Bristol led for most of the match and remained level until the final scrum in the final minute of extra time, when Anthony Diprose's pushover try at last exploited the utter exhaustion of the Bristol pack.

By this time Loughborough were taking more or less all the line-out ball and had Bristol in a state of disintegration in the scrums. Yet Bristol's back play, guided by the exceptional Kyran Bracken, was so penetrative that it all but compensated for Loughborough's forward superiority. Bracken has been a great success this season with the Bristol club; and in yesterday's company he was sensational.

There was, even so, an inevitability about the way Loughborough hit back each time Bristol scored. Tony Dalwood's try was followed by Richard Tomlinson's, and Bracken's by one from Alistair Metcalfe. Even when David John's first penalty gave Bristol the lead for the last time, Tomlinson replied in kind.

Loughborough: Tries Tomlinson, Metcalfe, Diprose; Conversions Tomlinson 2; Penalties Tomlinson 2. Bristol: Tries Dalwood, Bracken; Conversion John; Penalties John 2.

LOUGHBOROUGH STUDENTS: N Stork (Whitchurch HS); M Nicholson (West Buckland), P Bingham (Ampleforth), R Tomlinson (King's Worcester), M Dawson (Mount St Mary's); G Williams (Hinchingbrooke), R Stone (Bedford); G Reynolds (Cheshunt), C Johnson (Bishop Veysey's), D Lockyer (Cardiff HS), M Wright (Sharnbrook), D Jones (Ystalyfera CS), A Metcalfe (Sedbergh), A Diprose (Campion), N Richardson (King's Worcester, capt).

BRISTOL UNIVERSITY: M Singer (Wycliffe); A Dalwood (St Alban's), M Nolan (Tonbridge), M Jones (Manchester GS), A Robertson (Oundle); C John (Porthcawl CS), K Bracken (Stonyhurst); T Murray (Campion), J Binks (Sherborne, capt), A Reuben (Solihull), O Johnson (Wimbledon), J Nanakhorn (Felsted), G Bulstrode (Sherborne), K Seecharan (Tonbridge), A Maynard (Taunton).

Referee: D Matthews (St Helens).