Having won the first ever Red Bull Uni 7s tournament in May, Bath had the right to host this year’s tournament in front of a huge crowd at the Recreation ground on 26th of September. With a great atmosphere, ideal playing conditions and 6 eagerly awaiting teams the stage was set. Joining the reigning champions were teams representing countries from all over Europe. Representing England were Hartpury College, Cardiff Met for Wales, CUS Padova from Italy, University de Pau et du Pays de l’Ardour from France and finally, Dublin City University flying the flag for Ireland.
The day started horrendously for Bath with Chester Allen the self acclaimed lineout dynamo twisting his ankle on the way to the tournament, but late replacement Scott Smith, showed he was more than a capable replacement throughout the day finishing with 3 tries to his name. With Captain Zack Henry also pulling out just the day before, Scotsman Hamish Dalgarno came into the squad and treated the crowd to some much anticipated Scottish flair.
The Bath team showed good resolve, coming from behind twice to beat France in their opening game, with Wales and England also winning their opening fixtures. Next up saw the bookies’ favourite, England face the reigning champions, Bath. The firepower and sheer strength of England’s wingers proved too much for Bath as they romped home 3 tries to 1.
Wales continued to make good progress with another couple of wins setting up what many believed would be a prequel to the final against England. The game finished 12 all, meaning Bath had to beat Wales.
Despite going down to 6 men to an extremely dubious red card for what seemed a legitimate tackle leaving Bath player Conan Osborne unconscious and then red carded. Bath battled on and secured an epic victory in front of around 200 people on the side-line!
This was but a warm up however as despite England’s close encounter with France in their final match they progressed undefeated to set up a replay of the previous game with one difference. They would play one another in front of 12000 people at the Recreation Ground.
The eagerly awaited kick off was realised when both teams ran out onto the pitch greeted by cheers and beady eyes. Certainly a first for most of the players that day the opportunity was ultimately grasped by Bath who in the dying embers of the game snatched victory through a Luca Petrozzi try 26-24.
Captain Panashe Rushesha described the result as unbelievable and an honour to experience in Bath University colours. The players were jubilant at the final whistle and the crowd, who had grown into the game, were right behind the Bath team. There were tears from Bath coach Aaron James in the aftermath and he praised the team’s work rate and spirit to get over the line at the end and throughout the day.
Big thanks to Bath Rugby for making it such an unforgettable day, and RedBull for organising the event, and a truly memorable day for all involved.