Well folks, the season’s biggest rugby game is back. The Gallowglass Shield has been played four times and so far, it is honours even. Last January, the University of Birmingham’s First XV (with their emblem of the two-headed lion) romped home to victory, scoring 4 tries, including a Craig Bonar brace, to the Medics’s (adorning the griffin) single try by Chaz Hudson.
However, this time, the competition will be greater than ever. So, here are the Top 3 things to keep in mind before watching Friday’s game.
The Medics will be more prepared than last time:
Last year, for both teams it was their first game after the Christmas break. The difference became apparent after 20 minutes as the Medics were unable to play at the same intensity as the First XV and were not clinical enough. This was because prior to Christmas 2016, the Medics hadn’t played the tougher fixtures that they would play in the latter half of January and February 2016. In contrast, for Brum Varsity 2018, both sides will have played gruelling games before Friday’s fixture and both have a break before the game. Last week’s weather will have slightly hampered the preparations for but both sides are bound to come with lots of confidence.
The University 1st XV can grind out close wins at Bournbrook:
The recent form of the 1st XV at home in BUCS North 1A League has been rather remarkable. After vanquishing top of the table Newcastle, they had another home victory against Bishop Burton College, before finishing their season with an away win against Edinburgh. Both home victories were won with 5 points or less, but the fact remains that they have a strong home record at Bournbrook. This may not be a factor that many may consider, but creating a fortress and winning games at your home ground does count for an awful lot in rugby. With a big home crowd expected to arrive at Bournbook, the added support will play a factor for the performance of both sides, particularly the First XV.
The significance of the winning the Gallowglass Shield this year for both sides:
There is even more at stake this time around: whichever team wins this year will be the first to win the Gallowglass Shield 3 times. The contest between the two teams is still in infancy, however, both sides would want to claim the ultimate prize of being the first team to win the shield 3 times. It’s been a while since the Medics won the shield, so they look to set that record straight. Meanwhile if the First XV win the contest, it would be the first time they will win the contest back to back, so there’s an extra layer of motivation for them. Whatever the result, it’s going to be a very tight fixture.
Prediction: First XV to win by 5 points or less.
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