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London Irish Merit Tournament – 2nd Place, 18/01/17

With no league fixture, the ICU 3rd XV made their way down to the London Irish for a merit tournament. Winning 2 of their 3 games, they earned just that. The university of arts broke the trend as always, arriving fashionably late and 5 players short. The opportunity was realised to volunteer Louis Benson to play for UAL – Si-Woo Kim kept him company. A 12 aside game ensued, with space to run on both sides. UAL made the first mark, but within a minute ICU’s debutant Sam Muirhead had got one back, breaking through the UAL line from his own half to score. Within 3 phases of the restart, ICU had lost possession and Si-Woo Kim was breaking ICU ankles, wherever he pleased. Luckily, he offloaded the ball to Benson, from whom possession was quickly turned over. In the broken play that followed, the ball ended up in Joao Pereira’s hands on the other side of the pitch to score the try. Now, UAL legs were tiring, and turnovers became a regular occurrence. Although their fullback was still running hard and fast, he could do nothing stop Hicks and Rudman both running in to score to finish them off. The final score was 24-10.

In the second game of the tournament ICU put up a strong showing against a University of Chichester side 4 leagues above them. Despite ICU’s efforts, they let in 2 tries and UCRFC won 10-0. In the third and final game of the day, ICU faced the University of Portsmouth. This was a breeze, relative to the games beforehand. From kick-off ICU walked it up the pitch. The first successful chip and chase of the day, forced the Portsmouth fullback to carry the ball into touch. The resulting line out, saw Connor Crook carry the ball over the line. Portsmouth were already tiring. Within two phases of kick-off, Morgan Ball had broken through in the ICU half and offloaded to flanker-turned-flyhalf Jespersen to do the leg-work and score the try. Somewhere along the line Rudman managed to get on the score sheet again, in a rare manoeuvre to avoid hat-trick avoidance. The game ended on a bittersweet tone as Portsmouth ran in a try to finish it all 19-5. All in all, it was a good day.

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