1stXV v Loughborough, Sat Feb 03 2018, National 1, Match Preview
Ampthill welcome Loughborough to Dillingham Park this coming Saturday.
The history of rugby at Loughborough College began in 1919, by the 1930s rugby was the College's major sport culminating in the 1stXV reaching the final of the Universities Athletic Union (UAU) cup in 1939 where they lost, narrowly, to Swansea.
Post war the UAU trophy was finally achieved in 1953 while the fixture list expanded making the College one of the leading clubs in the Midlands.
John Robins arrival as Coach in the early 1960s saw the fixture list expand further to include famous names such as Leicester, Gloucester and London Irish and dominance in University rugby with the UAU cup secured 6 times in 7 years.
Robins was followed by the legendary Jim Greenwood and this period saw the formation of the Loughborough Students club with yet more success both in the 7 man & 15 man versions of the game.
In 1996 the club took the then extraordinary step of joining the RFU league structure at the lowest level of the pyramid, however, this period was not the most successful in the club's history despite successive promotions being secured in 2001/2002/2003. It took until 2005 before Loughborough secured another British Universities championship, fortunately the feat was repeated just a year later.
Promoted to level 4 (then National 3 North) in 2008 Loughborough, the first University side to reach the National Leagues finished 6th in their first season, were runners-up (and playoff losers) in their 2nd & 3rd seasons before securing promotion to level 3, National 1 in 2011/12 where they have remained ever since.
Since their first UAU victory in 1953 Loughborough Students have won 28 University Championships, roughly once every other year! Rugby alumni include such names as Gerald Davies, Colin MacFadyean, Dave Rollit, John Taylor, Clive Rees, Fran Cotton, Steve Smith, Clive Woodward & Andy Robinson.
As a University side, the club has been on the end of some ill-informed and frankly petty criticism regarding their funding, the National leagues are better off for the presence of Loughborough and Hartpury who have contributed to the rise in standards and thoroughly deserve their league status.
This season Loughborough have a played 19 won 7 record to lie 13th in the National 1 league table just 1 spot above the relegation zone. Last week they defeated Rosslyn Park 37-15 in what was one of their best performances of the season.
They play an exciting brand of attacking rugby not afraid to move the ball from anywhere on the pitch and their partnership with Leicester Tigers means we will see some of the best young talent in the country at Ampthill this weekend.
Ampthill won 5-26 in a game of two halves at Fylde last weekend securing a bonus win to consolidate their 3rd position in the table.
Forwards - Jack Culverhouse and Matt Collins return at prop, Josh Walker at lock while Syd Blackmore rotates to Eighthman
Backs - Stef Liebenberg rotates at scrum half
Replacements - James Fish comes in to cover Hooker while Karl Garside & Maama Molitka rotate to cover Prop & Backrow.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery comments "I was pleased with last weekends performance which was a big step forward on previous road trips in recent weeks. We were a lot more patient and with a bit more composure and accuracy we will be a real handful if we can put those things together on a consistent basis."