Credit: GURFC

In conversation with UofG rugby captains ahead of the upcoming varsity fixtures

By Rhys Tulk

Euan Maguire and Toni Kerr talk to The Glasgow Guardian about the preparations in the lead-up to the matches against Strathclyde University on 8 March 2024.

On 8 March, one of the biggest sporting events of the University Calendar will be taking place at the Scotstoun Stadium. The Men and Women’s Glasgow Rugby Varsity sees the two major sporting universities in Glasgow (Glasgow University and Strathclyde University) go head-to-head for the Varsity trophy. This tradition became official in 2016 with the two men’s teams, before the long-awaited inclusion of the women’s teams last year, in 2023. 

Since the competition began, Glasgow University Men’s Rugby Team (GURFC) have yet to take home the trophy. After the close-fought defeat of 2023 by just one try, 19-12, the gentlemen of the GURFC are fiercely intending to secure a first win for the team.

Currently second in the Men’s Scottish Tier 1 League, the group managed by Head Coach, Thomas Johnson, are in fantastic form as they work towards a long overdue promotion this season. Led by GURFC First Team Captain, Euan Maguire, the squad have been tenaciously training week-in week-out since August and have their focus now on the main event on March 8. Euan Maguire told The Glasgow Guardian, “The preparations are going well as the pressure has ramped up”. He added, “The boys are getting fit and are getting excited for Varsity.” 

Euan spoke on how the squad will handle the pressure and the crowd during the match.

“Going into the game, there is a good number of us who have played Varsity before… which I think really helps calm the nerves. It’s going to be a big occasion and there may be game-day nerves, if we can channel that and play how we want to play, hopefully, we can get the win.”

The squad will no doubt be bringing a fiery atmosphere to the game, hoping to culminate many months of dedication and effort into an engaging showcase of the dynamic style of rugby seen by them in the past.

After the nail-biting win of the 2023 match, 22-17, the Glasgow University Women’s Rugby Team (GUWRFC) are hopeful towards game day. GUWRFC First Team Captain, Toni Kerr, told The Glasgow Guardian, “I think it’s going to come down to the mental game, who wants it more on the day”, but the team are confident and believe they “should get the win.” 

The three-time BUCS Scottish 1A League champions have had a change of wind since last season with a completely new set of coaching staff. This group, led by Head Coach, Steve Meenagh, has been one of the foundations of the team’s success so far in the season, already beating Strathclyde Women’s team in October, 52-15. Toni highlighted the importance of the coaches ahead of Varsity saying, “The girls are really happy with the way they are individually improving”. She added, “We are really impressed with the coaching environment.” With the backing of a strong management team there seems to be little to stop the GUWRFC’s current winning ways as they stand unbeaten and top of their league.

Women’s rugby has seen a phenomenal uprise in recent years with 2024 being the second instalment of the Women’s Rugby Varsity. It rightly stands as a testament to how far the sport has come and the level of talent and skill that will be on display. Last year’s event saw around 3,000 spectators pile into the stadium, and with them came a charged-up atmosphere to support the teams. Toni Kerr recounted the winning score of last year’s game to The Glasgow Guardian. 

“In the second half, I remember, it was a penalty try, and then I heard the crowd to the side of me. When you are so focused on the game and then something really exciting happens, it becomes a crazy experience to be a part of.”

With the unwavering confidence of the captains, as they lead both teams out on the day, Glasgow University Rugby history is there to be made with the potential for a clean sweep of both wins in their favour. With everything to prove, the coaches draw up their plans, the squads tirelessly prepare themselves, and the spectators secure their tickets. The date is set to be a special evening to remember for all those involved.


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Nathan Kerr