by Reece Chambers and Llion Carbis
Cardiff University men’s rugby team are set to face a weakened Swansea side in tomorrow’s Welsh Varsity fixture at the Principality Stadium, April 10. The news comes after Swansea failed to reach an agreement with the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), University Sport’s governing body, and Nottingham Trent University to rearrange their BUCS Super Rugby play-off decider.
Swansea Uni RFC released a statement on Twitter this morning reacting to the predicament.
In a statement, the club said, “Despite having full knowledge that the date for 2019 Welsh Varsity has been scheduled for Wednesday 10th April, BUCS set the same day for the BUCS Super Rugby play-off between Swansea University and Nottingham Trent University.”
The club also claim to have offered “8 alternation dates to Nottingham Trent, and even the offer of giving up home advantage.”
“The originally selected Varsity 23 have sacrificed their opportunity to play in the National Stadium. These players have been selfless in this act and should be proud of their decision.”
Cardiff’s opposition tomorrow evening at the Principality Stadium will be a mixture of “University Regional Academy players, along with a mix of some of our most up and coming 1st and 2nd team players.” the club said on Twitter.
Accordingly, the anticipation ahead of Welsh Varsity 2019 is set to be dampened due to BUCS’ insistence that Swansea University’s men’s rugby team play their BUCS Play-off final on the same day as Welsh Varsity.
Swansea University’s captain, Jack Tharme, exclusively told Gair Rhydd Sport:
“It’s a difficult situation to be in having worked all year for a possible promotion and then having to choose between that and the biggest game of the year,” said Tharme.
“All the boys playing in the morning [against Nottingham Trent] are gutted to miss out on Varsity, but we all know we have a job to do that ultimately means more to the university and the club’s future. We also know that the boys playing in the Principality [Stadium] will do the club proud.”
The winner of the BUCS Play-off decider will take the final spot in next season’s prestigious BUCS Super Rugby competition. In what is the highest level of university rugby that has seen players forge careers in the professional game, Swansea appear to have little choice in the matter.
Cardiff University Students’ Union has had its say on the situation. Cardiff University Students’ Union Spokesperson said:
“We are aware of the clash of fixtures with Welsh Varsity and the BUCS Super League playoff fixture affecting Swansea RFC. This is a frustration but both institutions are happy that provision has been made to enable the Welsh Varsity fixture to go ahead.
“Cardiff as always remain confident of a strong show, we have no doubt that Swansea will bring their A game and that the Welsh Varsity will be the same spectacle of high-quality Welsh rugby as it has been in previous years.”
Gair Rhydd Sport has requested a comment from BUCS on the matter.
Disclaimer: This article will be updated if or when we receive more information.