Hartpury University Centre look set to face the biggest threat yet to their unbeaten BUCS Super Rugby record when they head to Exeter University on Wednesday (November 30th, 2pm KO).
Skipper Sebastian Negri’s team are sitting at the summit of the new competition, 10 points of clear of defending BUCS champions, Exeter, who lie third, but the Devon university have been in fine form of late and they have never lost to Hartpury at home in recent history.
They go into Wednesday’s encounter on the back of a five-game winning streak and will be desperate to take the scalp of unbeaten Hartpury, who used home advantage to good effect on October 12th to comfortably see them off by a 41-18 margin.
Hartpury Director of Rugby, John Barnes, said: “Exeter have only lost two games this season, to us and Loughborough, both away from home.
“They are a good side and it’s a place where historically we do not win, so I’m fully expecting this to be our toughest test of the competition so far.
“Although we beat them comfortably at home, they have hit form since then and they need this win to climb back into the top two to have the best possible chance of reaching the final.”
Hartpury head into the Exeter clash on the back of a 30-23 win over bottom side Leeds Beckett but they had to battle back from a 20-8 half-time deficit to take the spoils against the winless northerners.
“We put in a very average first half performance,” added Barnes.
“We knew they would be better than their league position suggested though because they have not been losing games by much and so it proved. They were one of the better sides we have played in the competition.
“It just goes to show that every game in BUCS Super Rugby has the potential to be difficult. Credit to the lads for picking up their performance in the second half to win.
“There’s no doubt the fact that Hartpury RFC and the BUCs are unbeaten this season is acting as a motivator in those situations for both teams. It is something that’s being talked about and both sides are determined to keep their runs going for as long as possible.”
Hartpury will be without Henry Harper on Wednesday as the second row is sidelined with an ankle injury. Centre Jamie Forrester is fit again though, as is scrum-half Harry Cochrane following his knee injury.