Varsity Matches James Horwill Leads Cambridge bBid To Reclaim Men’s Crown Against Oxford


Varsity Matches James Horwill Leads Cambridge bBid To Reclaim Men’s Crown Against Oxford

Former Australia captain James Horwill will lead Cambridge University’s bid to reclaim the men’s Varsity crown.

Horwill and South African Flip van der Merwe bring a combined 99 caps to the Light Blues’ second row while Oxford feature a dozen returning Blues.

Premiership and international referee JP Doyle takes charge of the fixture for the first time.

In the women’s match, Cambridge will be hoping to repeat their narrow victory over Oxford in last year’s match.

Horwill and Van der Merwe, both 34, are EMBA (Executive Master of Business Administration) classmates at Queen’s College having previously locked horns on opposite sides in Super Rugby and Rugby Championship encounters.

“This is the essence of amateur rugby,” Van der Merwe told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. “Everyone is here because they want to be. Everyone wants to win and enjoy the occasion.”

Former Queensland Reds and Harlequins lock Horwill echoed those sentiments.

“It’s great fun, you’ve got to enjoy it for the uniqueness,” he added. “It’s different and that’s what makes it enjoyable.

“Having played professional rugby for such a long time, the monotonous aspect of it can make it tedious. But this is all fresh and new and it keeps you on your toes for sure.”

The pair will certainly be brought back down to earth straight after, whatever the result, when they sit an exam together on Friday morning.

Oxford, meanwhile, who won for the first time in three years last time out with five tries in a 38-16 victory, are captained by four-time Blue Ed David.

Alice Elgar’s penalty was all that separated the two sides as Cambridge won last year’s women’s contest. She returns among the Light Blues’ replacements.

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Oxford University men’s captain Ed David told BBC Radio Oxford:

“I played in the fixture in 2015 when Cambridge had Jamie Roberts at centre as well as experienced second row Ian Nagle, so nothing really changes when you see the names in their line-up.

“It’s a huge occasion and the outcome and the result will define our season.

“But we have to go into it with the mindset of ‘it’s just another game’. I think we’ve played stronger sides this season and come on leaps and bounds.

“Whilst they’ll offer a lot of experience, I don’t think Cambridge will offer anything above and beyond what we’ve already faced this year.”

Cambridge University men’s captain Stephen Leonard told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire:

“There’s been a big emphasis this year on whatever we do, do it with massive intent and that shows in our defence.

“There are guys who clearly care about it a lot and those who were on the wrong end of the result last year have come back desperate to put things right.

“Gameplans haven’t changed too much in recent years, so I think they know what to expect from us and we know what they’ll bring.”

Oxford men: Stoller; David (capt), Greenhalgh, Jackson, Stileman; Humberstone, Tressider; Friend, Henry, Parker, Dix, Pozniak, Jones, Miller, Messum.

Replacements: Wright, Oswal, Vaughan, Warr, Watson, Dalton, Haddock/Hackett, Martin.

Cambridge men: Gatus; Lovelace, Triniman, Watson, Jemphrey; Phillips, Bell; MacCallum, Huppatz, Harborne, Van der Merwe, Horwill, Walton, McMahon, Leonard (capt).

Replacements: Schusman, Collins, Cook, Beckett, Smart, Smeaton, Gliksen, Russell.

Referee: JP Doyle.

Oxford women: Hurton; Holmes, D’Cruz, Jenkins, Potts; Metcalfe-Jones, Johnson; Ellender (capt), Bidgood, Abele, Collis, Schmidt, Clark, Haste, Cooper.

Replacements: James, Opara, Haywood, Arik, Cohen, Nunn, Carter, Hindson.

Cambridge women: Vandersluis; Samuel, Grant, Nicholls, Halcrow; Clark, Marks; Bleehan, Pierce, Nunez-Mulder, Scheeman, Gregory, J Shuttleworth, F Shuttleworth (capt), Scowen.

Replacements: Manser, Elgar, Hicks, Heemskerk, Prowling, Atherton, McLoughlin, Patterson.

Referee: Laura Pettingale.

Varsity Matches James Horwill Leads Cambridge bBid To Reclaim Men’s Crown Against Oxford


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