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The Push for Promotion

St. Andrews Men's Rugby 1st XV

The St Andrews’ men’s rugby XV are approaching the end of their season and with only three league games left, promotion could be in the cards. This would no doubt be the perfect way to end what has been a strong season so far for the boys.

The Saints have been a significant force all season and it could not have started better for the 1st XV than the wonderful Varsity victory against Edinburgh. This affair was closely contested but it was St Andrews who came out on top with to a 18-5 win. This exciting victory was the first indication of the full strength of the team this year after returning from a long absence of competitive matches due to Covid-19.

If the Saints are able to stay unbeaten for the three remaining league games, promotion could be coming their way. A big obstacle, however, would be that in order to gain promotion they may have to face Newcastle 2nd XV. Playing this match with the possibility of promotion on the table would no doubt make for another nail-biting contest.

St. Andrews narrowly lost out in a hugely competitive match against Newcastle 2nds in late November, losing 19-24 on home soil in a cup match. Despite two tries from Van Vuuren, one from Adam Ivins, the team had to concede defeat by only 5 points with the score being 19-24 after the full 80 minutes.

The boys will certainly be looking forward to this rematch if it does come to it, however, the focus right now is no doubt on winning the remaining league matches in order get the opportunity to challenge the Geordie side to gain promotion.

Currently the team is sitting nicely in the top spot of the Scottish Tier 1. However, with Aberdeen placed in 2nd it was an impressive victory against Glasgow 2nds on Wednesday that instilled into the boys some confidence. It was a welcome 31-5 win for the Saints after the unfortunate loss against Aberdeen earlier on in the season. Aberdeen stole the victory in the final stages with a penalty kick and even though the team showed great character coming back from 14-0 behind to lead 15-14, St Andrews will be glad to get back to their winning form.

Captain, Isaac Stables, has a slight hamstring injury. So, as a result, he is taking training lightly to ensure that he is able to perform at his best when the team will need him most. Stables is still able to play in matches which is a relief to all.

However, the Saints will likely have to play the remainder of their matches this season without Liam Greenhalgh which is a huge blow for the team. Greenhalgh had to have surgery on his shoulder over the Christmas break and so he is a doubt for the rest of the season but all are wishing him a speedy recovery so he can be back on the pitch as soon as possible.

Two key players Josh Van Van Vuuren and John Paterson are both waiting until the end of the season before they both undergo shoulder surgery. Everyone is hoping that they are both able to make quick recovery over the summer as they have both been providing stand out performances this season and their influences are key to the Saints success so far.

The team would all appreciate your support in helping them push for promotion so pop down to University Park on Wednesday against Stirling to see if they can continue with their confident performances and gain for promotion they have been longing for!

Image: University of St. Andrews

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