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Home > News > Oxford and Cambridge prepare to sing the Blues at Twickenham
Your News Oxford and Cambridge prepare to sing the Blues at Twickenham

This years Nomura Varsity Match on December 9th promises to be another treat for rugby fans as both Oxford and Cambridge prepare for their annual Twickenham showdown, the 129th meeting of the two teams in this historic event.

Oxford University RFC are keen to avenge last years defeat at the hands of the Light Blues and have had to overcome a difficult preparation with injuries to key players. However, new coach Murray Henderson is confident that his team can produce a great performance on the day.

This is my first year in a Varsity Match, said Henderson, and it has been a real experience. A young Oxford Blues squad this year has had its challenges and none more so than a string of early injuries and some tough Monday night fixtures. However, they have come through it all as a very tight group and in the end we have arrived with probably our best 22 bar one injured player in John Carter. This has been especially satisfying because a lot of hard work has gone in and it will be rewarding just to see what the best of Oxford can do against the best of Cambridge.

For Australian born doctor Nick Haydon, a former captain of Australia Students, the chance to lead Oxford out at Twickenham will be one of the proudest moments of his rugby career.

Its a very proud moment for any captain to lead his team out on the field but to lead out a very tight group of guys that youve worked extremely hard with for 12 months, at Twickenham, for our biggest challenge - Ill be extremely proud and very eager.

The spirit of the Oxford side is echoed by winger Luke Jones, a surgeon from Hammersmith who is studying for a DPhil in musculoskeletal surgery and is winning his first Blue.

Playing in the Varsity Match will be the highlight of my rugby career, said Jones. Its difficult to predict the result - its a one-off game and weve had quite a difficult run-in but were really coming together as a side and were really looking forward to playing for each other. Although we are probably underdogs going in to the game were certainly capable of pulling off a victory.

England 7s squad member Alex Cheesman has experienced both victory and defeat for Oxford and admits: We want to right the wrongs from last year so I guess there is more pressure on us this year to put in a good performance. Its a huge game for us - the biggest of the season - and were looking to win the Nomura trophy back.

Cambridge University RUFC come into the game on the back of a win in their annual Steele-Bodgers fixture two weeks ago and will be cheered on by Dan Vickerman, who led them to victory last year but was ruled out of this years team through injury.

South African James Richards is hoping to emulate the Australian international lock and the Cambridge captain said: The Varsity Match means a tremendous amount to me. Its such a big one-off game and anything can happen on the day. If everything goes right and we play the game we want to play hopefully we can be successful.

Cambridge coach Tony Rodgers has seen it all before and brings a wealth of Varsity Match experience to his team.

This year we have got a young squad; most of them are very inexperienced but very enthusiastic and keen and theyve been a joy to work with. As always with the Varsity Match the one game defines the whole season so the strategy has always been to peak on the day. Weve had a few injury setbacks in the past few weeks but while its disappointing for the guys involved it brings the squad closer together and well use it as a positive rather than a negative.

Among this years Cambridge team is New Zealand flanker Jason Kururangi, the son of an All Black who was lured to Cambridge by the history and tradition of the Varsity Match.

I spoke to a couple of Kiwi guys who came over here a few years ago, said Kururangi, and they said it was the best rugby match theyd ever played in. I think were going to go pretty well - it all feels like its coming together nicely. Well see what happens on the day but mentally were up for it.

For Tom Stanton, from Milton Keynes, who has played in the last three U21 Nomura Varsity Matches for Cambridge, winning his first Blue is a dream come true.

The Varsity Match means everything to me, admits Stanton. Its the culmination of a five or six year dream that Ive had since I was at school and I knew Id got my offer from Cambridge. Its also the culmination of all the hard work and everything weve done pre-season and in the gym so it means a hell of a lot to me.

Tickets for the 2010 Nomura Varsity Match at Twickenham start from 20.00 (10.00 for students with a valid NUS card) and can be obtained by calling Ticketmaster on 0844 847 2492 or are available to buy at the gate on the day.

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