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Men’s First XV Hoping to Finish Inconsistent Season with Varsity Win

Photo by Anna Summons, courtesy of KCLSU

Staff writer Sam Byran sets the stakes for this year’s iteration of the founding game of Varsity– the men’s First XV rugby derby.

For King’s College Men’s Rugby (KCLRFC), this Varsity cycle is one of revenge. Following a tough but close loss last year, the boys in red are keen to bounce back at Richmond RFC. In the winter months the pitch is lit by a few floodlights, making training difficult, but the lads have pushed through this year and have been consistent with training every Monday evening. 

Speaking to Captain George Peprah, it is clear the squad is in good spirits. “The condition of the team is good”, he reports, “we have minimal injuries or people due back soon from them. I’m due back from injury right now so from a captain’s perspective, I can’t wait to be able to get back on the pitch.” 

Regarding last year’s performance in an exceptionally tight match, George has clearly taken dedicated steps to build upon the gameplay. “Yeah last year was heartbreak with us losing in the last moments, I think a point to work on from that match specifically was being more clinical when we are in the opponent’s ‘red zone’. We as a team have definitely focused on that more this year.”


The First XV boys have struggled this regular season. Looking back on their playing record, games have been undoubtedly tight but not swayed in KCL’s favour. Their medical counterparts, Guy’s Hospital RFC, have enjoyed two blowout wins over UCL this season and have given the KCLRFC a high standard to hit.

Can the KCL lads break the cycle and come together when it matters most? For King’s players, Varsity is the highest stage of performance – always played at the end of the season, it can really take a physical and mental toll. However, George has have faith in his team to bring it home for the university in what will surely be a fantastic game of rugby.

When asked if he had any comment towards UCL players, George reminded us of the core rugby value of respect, saying “good luck, here’s to a good game of rugby”. As is tradition, regardless of winners and losers, both sides will enjoy some beers together in the clubhouse after the match.

While it’s easy to find the common phrase “rugby is the real winner” cheesy and overplayed, it does represent the true essence of the game which will be played in March.

You can watch KCLRFC play versus UCL at 17:00 on Monday 18 March at Richmond RFC. 

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