The Difference Between Club & BUCS Rugby

December 1, 2017

A few people reading this may think “what on Earth is BUCS?” So before I get into details, I’ll outline what it is I am referring to. BUCS = all competitive sports leagues at University and College level across the nation (standing for British Universities and Colleges Sport) and pretty much covers every sport on offer for a young athlete in male and female sport.

I decided to see if there were any differences between BUCS Rugby and competitive Club Rugby and so chose a young second row called Callum Thompson, who attends Hartpury University and plays for Lydney RFC (Nat 3. South West) to get his perspective on the potential differences.

Style of Play

When talking about Club Rugby, Callum told me there is a big difference because although the skill level isn’t as high, it’s far more physical, direct and strength based. This leads to club games being very pack orientated, with forwards dominating possession and racking up the phases, and thus only using the backs when necessary. Therefore, the bigger and stronger players will carry more, offering them more time in the spotlight. This, in turn, means the smaller, more agile players enjoy fewer opportunities to rack up points.

BUCS tends to be faster flowing and skills dominated, where teams really showcase the product of working together in training and utilising the players with a skill-based game. With BUCS being built on foundations of skill and speed the backs and other players with said attributes are able to demonstrate the ability more easily than in club rugby.

Why Does This Happen?

These young lads have a lot to prove and want to show what they’re capable of, which leads to a highly skillful and fast-paced game, which is a great spectacle. On the other hand, as Club rugby is more physical, probably because it’s majorly played by older men (I say old, I really just mean past the Uni age) who have full time jobs and a career. They’ll likely have a lot more size and strength on them so will want to play a style of rugby that utilises that.

What Does This Mean?

This is a great gateway for all types of young players making their way in the world of rugby whether it be in the hopes of a professional career, or just for a laugh and a bit of fun. Those more suited to playing a fast pace, highly skilled game will shine through BUCS and University sport, giving them a shot in the Rugby world. But it doesn’t leave out those who prefer big carries, constant phases and forward dominated games as they will get their chance at club rugby in a team local to their university or back home.


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