Swansea University’s rugby union first team will begin the new British Universities and Sport (Bucs) season with a South Wales derby against Cardiff University at Sketty Lane on October 12.
It is a massive fixture to start the season off with and team captain Richard Smart believes this match will “set the tone” for the rest of the season.
The first team had a very successful campaign last year, finishing as runners-up in the Bucs Premier League and winning the Welsh Varsity match for the 10th time in its 15 year history.
Having lost only five of the last year’s squad, hopes are high with Richard Lancaster and Steve Mellalieu continuing their coaching duties, aided by former Wales and Ospreys scrum-half Andy Williams, Smart said he hopes to build on last season’s success.
One black mark against the previous campaign was elimination from the first round of the Bucs Championship Cup and Smart felt this was a “major disappointment”.
He said he hopes the defeat will lead to “a lot more emphasis,” being placed on the cup.
He felt the team “underperformed” in last season’s competition but did point out the squad was hindered by injuries.
Smart claims one of the sides goals this year is to win the cup.
He believes this to be a very realistic goal, thanks to an influx of talent into the squad which has also retained plenty of talent, and recognises the need to take it one step further this year.
Varsity 2012 will once again be staged at the Millennium Stadium and Smart said he was “disappointed” that it would not be held in Swansea.
But he said the Millennium Stadium was “one of the greatest stadiums of the world.”
He said he and his team mates “love it there and love the trip down”, considering it to be a neutral ground thanks to the great support of the Swansea fans.
He added that the rivalry between two of Wales’ largest universities is not like any other game.
The second team also had a very successful campaign last year remaining undefeated in all competitions and ending the season as Bucs Western 2B champions and beating Plymouth in the Bucs Western cup final to compete a double winning season.
This year the team will be captained by Findlay Williams for the second successive season, but will face a much tougher challenge following their promotion to the Bucs Western 1A.
They start the season at home to Hartpury College on October 12.