The 30th Annual Rugby League Pcubed Varsity Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University takes place this Thursday (March 4) at the Twickenham Stoop kicking off live on Sky Sports 3 at 7.35pm.
Cambridge won last year’s fixture 20-4 and their Head Coach and full time general manager John Evans has praised the ability of the match to bring Rugby League to a new audience.
“We’ve got lads playing Rugby League from all sorts of diverse backgrounds,” said Evans, who will be coaching in his 11th Varsity fixture.
“We’ve got two Americans in our squad this year and previously we’ve had guys from Nigeria, Spain and Kazakhstan.
“We still have some students from last year and that undoubtedly helps because it’s a totally different atmosphere playing under floodlights, in front of television cameras and at a big stadium.”
Meanwhile, Oxford University Head Coach Dan Garbutt will be looking to engineer a Dark Blue victory to make amends for last year’s defeat against their great rivals.
Dan Garbutt said: “We’ve gone fairly well this season with a mixed squad including some experienced players and some who are new to the game.
“I think there are seven or eight players who took part last year and in that group there are a couple of very experienced guys. If selected, James Batstone will be playing in his fourth Varsity match.”
However, Garbutt insists that last year’s result will have no bearing on Thursday’s showdown.
He said: “It’s a totally different occasion. There’s a high turnover of players in university sport so it’s a very different group of players.
“Having said that, the lads were very disappointed last year so those that were involved might use that as motivation this time around.”
The fixture will be the 15th Varsity match that Oxford University club manager and assistant coach John Hobart has been involved in, having represented Oxford in seven Varsity games before being involved in the coaching team for the last eight years.
John Hobart said: “My first Varsity game was at London Welsh’s old ground on a cold afternoon outside of term time. About 50 people turned up and there was no corporate event.
“Now we get a big crowd, play at a great ground and entertain about 300 corporate guests.
“There’s also an Old Boys Varsity fixture and, following on from last year, there will also be a Varsity game for the second teams of Oxford and Cambridge.
“Both universities are also hoping to start women’s teams very shortly, so there’s a lot going on. The Varsity game now attracts a lot of publicity and a lot of popularity.”
The 30th Annual Pcubed Varsity Match
Oxford v Cambridge
Thursday 4 March
The Twickenham Stoop
Kick Off 7.35pm
Admission £10 – Concessions £5
Referee: Tim Roby
Touch Judges: Rob Jones / George Stokes
Reserve Official: John Cadogan
Paddy Boyle (LMH, Chemistry), Alex Duncan (Worcester, Engineering Science), Marcus-Alexander Neil (St Hilda’s, Engineering), Henry Waite (Magdalene, Chemistry), James Batsone (Worcester, Engineering Science), Ross Swanson (New College, Experimental Psychology), Greg Coates (Brasenose, Maths), Oli Nash (St Hugh’s, Human Sciences), David Barrow (Jesus, History), Josh Halstead (St Benet’s Hall, PPE), Josh Venner (Wadham, Engineering Science), Larry Knight (Balliol, Chemistry), Tom Barker (University, PPE), Johnny Hawkins (Brasenose, Maths), Brett Marshall (Queen’s, Physics), Matt Henshaw (Worcester, Maths), Charlie Thompson (St Catherine’s, Law), Jack McGinn (Queen’s, PPE), George Dean (Kebel, Geography), Ben Calverley (Brasenose, Maths), Danny Soos (Worcester, Engineering Science), Hugh McCormick (Lincoln, Political Theory), Paul O’Connor (Worcester, Maths)
Cambridge Squad (Player, college, subject)
George Sykes (Sidney Sussex, Engineering), James Shearman (Sidney Sussex, PhD Medical Chemistry), Paddy Hunt (Sidney Sussex, Management Studies), Ben Miller (Robinson, Medicine), Frank Sanders (Magdalene, Medicine), Frank Hay (Wolfson, Manufacturing Engineering), Mark Sweeney (Magdalene, PhD Engineering), George Laing (Gonville and Caius, Medicine), Scott Wildgoose (Emmanuel, Economics), Matt Commin (Robinson, Natural Sciences), Charlie Sorensen (St Edmund’s, MPhil Criminology), Patrick Gough (Emmanuel, Economics), Rupert Wingate-Saul (Sidney Sussex, Manufacturing Engineering), Greg Cushing (Ridley, Theology), Alex Spain (Magdalene, English), George Morrissey (Magdalene, Medicine), Charlie Linton (St John’s, Master of Finance), Chris Johnstone (St John’s, Management Studies), Max Stechman (Sidney Sussex, Land Economy), Angus Sanders (Magdalene, SPS), Mark Varley (Queens, Engineering), Robert Cox (Gonville and Caius, Natural Sciences), John Garrity (Fitzwilliam, Economics), Ryan Ruff (St Edmund’s, MPhil Education), Ryan Wild (Girton, Law), Patrick Crossley (Homerton, MPhil Theology), Matt Bence (Magdalene, Medicine), Kit Pyman (Trinity Hall, History), James Bousher (Trinity Hall, Land Economy), Charlie Greenway (Sidney Sussex, Land Economy)
2009 – Oxford 4 v 20 Cambridge
2008 – Oxford 38 v 12 Cambridge
2007 – Oxford 20 v 14 Cambridge
2006 – Oxford 0 v 44 Cambridge
2005 – Oxford 16 v 17 Cambridge
2004 – Oxford 29 v 16 Cambridge
2003 – Oxford 25 v 13 Cambridge
2002 – Oxford 10 v 22 Cambridge
2001 – Oxford 22 v 16 Cambridge
2000 – Oxford 35 v 17 Cambridge
1999 – Oxford 10 v 14 Cambridge
1998 – Oxford 10 v 24 Cambridge
1997 – Oxford 22 v 26 Cambridge
1996 – Oxford 18 v 48 Cambridge
1995 – Oxford 22 v 22 Cambridge
1994 – Oxford 8 v 16 Cambridge
1993 – Oxford 18 v 50 Cambridge
1992 – Oxford 32 v 23 Cambridge
1991 – Oxford 24 v 4 Cambridge
1990 – Oxford 15 v 20 Cambridge
1989 – Oxford 12 v 9 Cambridge
1988 – Oxford 8 v 18 Cambridge
1987 – Oxford 5 v 36 Cambridge
1986 – Oxford 14 v 32 Cambridge
1985 – Oxford 8 v 6 Cambridge
1984 – Oxford 18 v 14 Cambridge
1983 – Oxford 8 v 25 Cambridge
1982 – Oxford 8 v 30 Cambridge
1981 – Oxford 16 v 9 Cambridge