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Try at Twickenham is a dream for Bell as Nicholls toasts Varsity victory also!

PUBLISHED: 10:40 19 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:40 19 December 2019

Cambridge captain Stephen Leonard lifts the cup during the Men's Varsity Match at Twickenham.

Cambridge captain Stephen Leonard lifts the cup during the Men's Varsity Match at Twickenham.

PA Wire/PA Images

Hampstead’s Chris Bell said scoring the winning try at the home of English Rugby was a fairytale ending to his university career, writes Ziad Chaudry.

Bluebell Nicholls (third from left) celebrates with Cambridge teammates after winning the Varsity match against Oxford at Twickenham (pic Varsity Match for RFU)Bluebell Nicholls (third from left) celebrates with Cambridge teammates after winning the Varsity match against Oxford at Twickenham (pic Varsity Match for RFU)

The 22-year-old scrum-half ended his days at Cambridge in style with a last-minute try in a 15-0 Varsity Match win over great rivals Oxford at Twickenham.

And Bell, after seeing Fergus Jemphrey score in each half, was delighted to touch down in front of a crowd of just under 20,000 and the ITV4 audience.

He said: "We've took a couple of our chances. Fergus scored two awesome tries. I saw a bit of space on so I called it and the guy shot off at me from defence and I just went through and scored.

"I felt pretty good, that was quite excellent. The whole game was really scrappy. I don't think we've played great, but we ground out and defended awesomely.

Chris Bell in action for Cambridge University against Oxford University during the 2019 Varsity Match at Twickenham (pic Matthew Impey/Varsity Match/Wiredphotos.co.uk)Chris Bell in action for Cambridge University against Oxford University during the 2019 Varsity Match at Twickenham (pic Matthew Impey/Varsity Match/Wiredphotos.co.uk)

"Anyone who grows up playing rugby, especially in England or anyone coming particularly from London, dreams of playing at Twickenham are just for a start.

"To play and score a try to seal the game is something really special. I never thought that. It was never in the script, but I'm pretty glad now it's happened."

Team-mate and former Saracens academy player Al Gliksten also shared the Light Blues success last Thursday.

And the 21-year-old from Finchley, who was involved in the Sarries set-up for three years, was glad to be on the winning side in his debut Varsity appearance.

"It was my first time playing in the Varsity so it meant a lot to me and it was pretty special," said Gliksten, who is also a Sarries fan.

"While I was at Saracens I was training with the guys and they experienced a lot. I didn't really get that opportunity or that experience, so for me it was just incredible to finally get my chance to run out on that big field and show what I can do.

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"Those last 10 to 15 minutes it started to come off. We were in their 22 so with the weather being horrendous we just kept them there and we knew it was not much they can do. We just kept on putting the pressure and 'Belly' got the try."

*Bluebell Nicholls is now on a mission to help Saracens Women win a hat-trick of Tyrells Premier 15s titles after ending her own successful university rugby career at Twickenham.

It looked like Oxford was heading towards their first Women's Varsity success since 2016 until Nicholls saw Sarries colleague Coreen Grant score a fine solo try in the 77th minute to earn Cambridge an 8-5 victory.

And centre Nicholls admitted her side never stopped believing in success, saying: "It was a lot of extreme belief. We regrouped and it was thoughts of 'we know we can do this'.

"We've done it, before so let's size them again. We knew they are a big pack and have got a kicking game. We've adapted our play for the last 77 minutes and it was just a case of we've just got to empty the tank really.

"It was a great way to top off university!"

As Nicholls tucks away her light blue shirt for good, of the three Cambridge victories she has been involved in, she says the last was the most memorable.

"Definitely," she added. "The whole significance of wanting to go three-in-three and I've known all of these girls for three years now as I've grown up playing with them."

Sunday saw Saracens Women come back from 24 points down to overcome Harlequins Women 33-27 to regain top spot in Tyrells Premier 15s table.

They lead Quins by two points, with Loughborough Lightning a further 10 points behind, and Nicholls believes the title race is still wide open.

"It's been very close so far," she said. Harlequins have been hot on Saracens heels for a good couple of years. They've had big signings this year and you can see from the scorelines that they are just a very dominant team this year.

"But then again our Sarries are current champions and they are a tenacious and really hard-working group of great rugby players so I don't think anyone can call it."


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