England and Wales triumph in titanic Thimble Trophy clash

Date posted: 15/05/17

Champions Cup


On a damp murky Scottish morning 40 rugby players (and a referee) from all over the UK assembled for the latest Christians in Sport Rugby Weekend, this time based in Edinburgh to coincide with the Champions Cup Final. But before the exciting clash between English cup holders Saracens and French giants Clermont Auvergne got underway, there was a titanic tussle for the Thimble Trophy taking place between “England & Wales” and “Scotland & Ireland”.

Here's Hampo to set the scene...

Champions Cup from Christians in Sport on Vimeo.

In a tense opening first half an early converted score by English centre Charlie Bethell (Bicester RUFC) following some free flowing rugby was cancelled out after repeated driving mauls from the muscular Scotland & Ireland pack, Willie Rae (Ballyclare RFC) crashing over the line from a short range carry.

Champions Cup

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With both sides trading blows but unable to make the final crucial pass the scores remained deadlocked at half-time. 

Champions Cup from Christians in Sport on Vimeo.

Both sides continued to attack relentlessly in the second half, and with players tiring, English centre Liam McStay (Moulton College Rugby) danced over under the posts.

Despite Scotland & Ireland’s scrum dominance, England & Wales continued to press for further scores and when second row Will Thurlow (Bicester RUFC) scooped up a loose ball and showed an impressive turn of pace to finish from 30m, it looked like the floodgates might open.



However, the Scots & Irish continued to press to get within a score and with time running out, fly half Niall Lawther (Ballyclare RFC) stepped his way through the desperate defence, but it proved to be too little too late. 

Final score: England & Wales 21 – 12 Scotland & Ireland.

Here's the referee's take on a classic contest...


Champions Cup from Christians in Sport on Vimeo.

The players and referee gathered together after the game for lunch reflecting together on a great morning’s rugby, and following the presentation of the Thimble Trophy (tying the series at five wins apiece), Mike Harris (Old Redcliffians RFC) shared Jesus’ call to “Enter through the narrow gate” from Matthew 7 v 13-14.


Champions Cup from Christians in Sport on Vimeo.

Following a few drinks and plenty of good conversation, it was off to Murrayfield for the Champions Cup Final.

Champions Cup


Check out our Champions Cup weekend photo album on Facebook.

In a tight high-quality contest (not unlike the earlier fixture of the day), Saracens showed their class in closing out the game to win 28-17 and it was off to a house down the road for a rugby players’ barbecue.

It’s always a fantastic weekend to be part of, with plenty of great rugby action, a chance to meet and spend time with rugby players from all over the British Isles and most importantly a chance to consider to claims of Jesus Christ, who offers a way to life now and forever through his death on the cross.

Much like the words of our referee to offending players at the contact area earlier in the day, Jesus calls us all to “Enter through the narrow gate” and receive life through him.  We pray that this weekend will continue to give many rugby players around the country not only a rugby weekend like no other but also the chance to consider further the message of the Christian faith.

Onwards to the Premiership Final at Twickenham in 2018!



back pages - Spring 2016

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