The Exiles kicked off this year with a new kit as the old one has served its time for well over 20 years. It is with special thanks to Danny Coyles at The Anchor Bar and Michael McQuitty from Onside Sportswear who helped in sponsoring a new Exiles Kit.
Present in picture left to right Dave Orr Exiles President Select XV, Danny Coyles and Lee Murphy UUC 1st XV Vice Captain.
In the 40th year of this long standing tournament of UUC RFC past players come back to pit their skills against the youthful current players of the present teams. This year’s special occasion brought back some old touring teams including the UUC Touring Team Of 1982 and from 1992 as Rupert West had a cataclysmic thought when talking to Dave Lougheed on his flight from Auckland to LA and they remember with fondness the colour of the Ex-Larne Mayor’s Blood on that day in Kingston Canada! Then came about the 1992-2012 reunion of his teams’ triumphant tour of Canada. His plan now hatched as he went on a recruitment drive to put the band back together and form the 1992 Exiles Dream Team to take on the UUC 2nd XV.
The game was a hard fought game. Unknown to the Dream Team the UUC 2nd XV have been a very strong this season with several players featuring on the 1st XV team. As the 2nd XV had been out for their pre game warm up practicing moves, the Exiles in true spirit of the occasion managed 1 lineout and 1 scrum, 5 minutes before kick off. I dare say if the 92 side knew what was coming at them they would maybe have had second thoughts as some hadn’t played rugby in over 10 years a tad more practice would have been done. The game itself was from one end to the other with such ferocity the touring exiles found it difficult to keep up as they found themselves 3 try’s to 1 down at half time.
A fantastic purple patch by the Dream Team saw them claw back 2 quick try’s in 10mins to 3 try’s a piece, but the students fought back hard to score again to take the lead. It has to be said a few injuries and a lack of fitness was starting to tell but with a regathered kick off saw quick possession to the wings and the Exiles go in at the corner with 10mins left to play. Undeterred the 2’s came back hard from the proceeding kick off and managed to get a turnover penalty. A quick tap and fast recycling saw the students go over in front of the sticks with the crucial 2 points to come. Calum Rowden comfortable converted 34-32 to the UUC 2’s. The Exiles Dream team haven’t lost in 10years and this day wasn’t going to be one of them as they regrouped under the posts and decided the last 5 minutes of the game was win it or die trying! Kick off and Aussie lock Andy Kennedy gathered possession for the Dream Team. Quick ball delivered by the ever present Michael McQuitty to Jacko (Michael Jackson – former Ulster player and cousin of Ulsters Paddy Jackson) saw a thundering run up the middle of the pitch. A couple of pick and goes from the backrow let the Dream Team edge ever closer to the line with some fantastic defense from the uni 2’s kept the Dream Team at bay until Andy Kennedy used his 6 foot 7inch frame to nudge over the line!
34-37 to The Dream Team, the closest game in many years but played in the true fashion of a Barbarians game.
Exiles Dream Team 2012
UUC 2nd XV Class of 2012
UUC 1stXV vs Exiles President Select XV
We now turn our attentions to the main event, the 1st XV clash against the President Select XV. This is a long running tradition were past Captains invite players to represent the President Select Team. An invitation that is steeped in history and tradition and is considered an honor to be selected for the Presidents XV. In recent years it has been a very one side affair with the UUC 1’s dominating the games, but Dave Orr Captaining the Presidents side put together on paper a formidable team.
But it was clear to see from the start the game was not going to be easy for the President’s team as they leaked an early try in the corner inside the first 10 minutes. You could tell by the slick moves by the students that the year long training had become second nature as they secured another 3 try’s before half time, 4try’s to 1 to UUC 1’s.
The President’s team did not deter and as often is with tradition started to open the game up and fought back hard to secure 2 fantastic try’s in quick succession notably the line break of David Thompson aka Tompo scoring on a somersault touch down, much to the cheering delight of the watching crowd.
The openness of the game saw John Dillon intercept the ball for the students only to be called back. The Exiles also intercepted but in this occasion scored.
The score line swopped a few times but ultimately the shear power and fitness levels of the UUC 1’s told as they put a sizable gap in the score line in the last 20mins of the game.
Final Score saw UUC 1’s hold on their reign as Exiles Champs 59-27.
The winning UUC 1’s League Winners 2012 and The Spirit of Exiles….
UUC RFC would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You to all the Exiles that turned up to play and support this fantastic day in the clubs history and long may it continue. UUC RFC would also like to thank The Anchor Bar Portstewart, The Senior Common Room and Spar Coleraine Campus for their sponsorship which helped UUC RFC win Qualifying League 2 and get promotion into Qualifying League 1.