Exeter Replace Bath At Top Of BUCS Super Rugby After Matchweek 13
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Exeter Replace Bath At Top Of BUCS Super Rugby After Matchweek 13

Seth Nobes February 2, 2023

Matchweek 13 saw a change at the top of the BUCS Super Rugby table as a bonus-point win for Exeter saw the Devon side replace Bath in first.

Exeter had to fight hard against a resilient Leeds Beckett side, but were able to make the trip back down south with a maximum five points after a 24-17 win.

Bath did also pick up a win in another tight affair, but their 20-17 victory away at Cardiff Met did not see them pick up a bonus point, and are usurped at the top due to their inferior points difference.

Key bonus point victory for Exeter

Starting the day in second, and a point behind the league leaders Bath, Exeter travelled to Leeds knowing a win by at least four tries would be them go top, if only for a couple of hours given Bath kicked off three and a half hours later.

They got off to the perfect start, with Kofi Barton-Byfield crossing the line in just the second minute, with a Josh Barton conversion ensuring they raced into a 7-0 lead.

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Barton was involved once again as the side extended their lead to 12 points, this time scoring the points through a try.

Leeds Beckett drew the scores level just before half-time, but two more tries in the second-half confirmed maximum points, and a stint at the top of BUCS Super Rugby.

Bath’s failure to score the four required tries means Exeter’s time at the top has been extended to at least a week.

One point separate BUCS Super Rugby top three

Despite Exeter and Bath only being separated by points difference, you would be forgiven for thinking the BUCS Super Rugby title will be finding a home in the south-west when the season comes to an end, and the champions crowned.

Loughborough might have something to say on this situation, however.

They sit just one point behind the top-two, with the gap made closer today given they achieved the lucrative bonus point win that eluded Bath.

The only one of the title rivals to be at home for Matchweek 13, Loughborough put on a free-flowing attacking display as they earned a 47-33 victory over eighth-placed Swansea.

Currently, Loughborough’s points difference of +151 is far better than the other title rivals, meaning the opportunity for a bonus point to further impact the standings is definitely possible.

The title race is far from over, with Bath still having to face both Loughborough and Exeter, with their fixture against the latter coming on the final day. It could be a case of winner takes all on Wednesday 15th March.

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Durham’s win sees them keep leading pack in striking distance

Two other games took place in BUCS Super Rugby in Matchweek 13, with Durham facing Nottingham, and Cardiff travelling to Hartpury.

Durham delivered an expected win against ninth-placed Nottingham, who loss was compounded by the fact they were unable to pick up a losing bonus-point in a 29-14 win.

A bonus point was awarded to Durham, who sit in fourth, nine points behind Loughborough in third. However, with fixtures against Exeter and Bath to come, a late title charge could still be a possibility.

The closest game of Matchweek 13 was between Cardiff and Hartpury, with only two points determining the victor.

Sixth-placed Hartpury were able to pick up a sixth win of the season, which saw the Gloucestershire side move level on points with Cardiff Met in fifth. Defeat for Cardiff sees them remain in seventh.

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Seth Nobes is a freelance writer for Freshered, focusing on university sport. He is currently studying for an MA in Sports Journalism, as well as the NCTJ diploma, at St Mary's University, Twickenham after graduating with a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Birmingham. Seth is also an editor for the Sports Gazette, with a keen focus on cricket. He has written and commentated on a wide variety of sports, ranging from football and rugby, to sailing and judo, for publications such as Vavel, Deep Extra Cover, Burn FM, and Redbrick. He is also a long-suffering Watford fan, for his sins.