FeaturedRugbyTeam Sunderland

Men’s Rugby Union prepare for Northern Conference Shield final

Team Sunderland Men’s Rugby Union are in action on BUCS Finals Day as they prepare for the Northern Conference Shield final against Northumbria 4ths.

Team Sunderland Men’s Rugby.

After years of pursuing the coveted trophy, club captain Michael Holder believes this is Sunderland’s “best opportunity in years” to earn the accolade in Durham on Wednesday, March 6.

Having already earned a comfortable 43-10 victory over Northumbria’s 5ths this season, confidence is high in a readily available side who haven’t lost since the opening fixture of the campaign way back in October – but the importance of their next fixture isn’t lost on the squad.

“The final means a lot to the lads,” said Holder. “We’ve had numerous unsuccessful shield runs before and this is our best opportunity in years to finally be able to claim the shield. It’s the first time in recent memory we’ve been to the final.

“It’s fairly unheard of for Sunderland to win silverware so we’re going to leave our best performance on the pitch to bring it home.

“We’ve got one of our strongest teams this year with nearly all the lads being available and back from injury. We’ve not faced this Northumbria side this season, but have played their 5ths who we beat convincingly. I think we’ve got a real chance to win this and bring home a win.

“We have been so close for the past couple of years being knocked out in the final minutes last year against Leeds was hard to take. For the lads who have been here the past few years it means everything, everyone is buzzing.”

The squad has gelled well all season, curating a tight-knit atmosphere both on and off the pitch – and this may prove a key ingredient as they prepare for the final.

“All the lads get on great with each other which is great to see and not something you always see. It’s reflected on the pitch how close of a group we are. Playing for each other and looking after one another in the game helps us be as successful as we have been this season.

“I could list about 4 or 5 players names who have consistently stepped up this season but the two younger lads, Zach Campbell at fly-half and Lestyn Mawby at flanker have been great in their first season playing and are definitely worth a close watch.”

For those hoping to attend, Team Sunderland are running a bus from CitySpace at 11:30 am on Wednesday, with the action set to get underway at 2 pm.