John Inverdale presents live coverage of the 136th Varsity men's match between Cambridge and Oxford from Twickenham. With commentary by Andrew Cotter.
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It was a grizzly grey December day
until about an hur ago. Now we have
glorious winter sunshine to welcome
tw shades of blue who have been an
integral part of the rugby calendar
since 1872. The days of
multi-internationals playing in this
fixture may be gone but the sides
feature many former professionals,
England sevens players and a variety
of age group internationals so we
should being in for a good match. 97
years since Oxford and Cambridge
first met here at Twickenham. As you
can see from the statistics,
Cambridge ended a long run of Oxford
domination last year. Six on the
trot for the dark blues before that.
The pre-match form before today's
encounter has the Oxford team as
very much odds on favourites today.
But this is very much a one-off and
it's anybody's game. In about ten
minutes' time or so, as I am sure
two of our guests today will readily
agree, and presenting the trophy the
one and only Martin Johnson. Jamie,
you were part of the Cambridge side
two years ago. What are your
Losing, first and
foremost. I took a knock to my leg
in the second minute. Just swelling
on the knee, I had to come off at
half-time, unfortunately. Yeah, a
lot of great memories. For these
guys it's a one-off Cup final,
regardless of form going into
today's game. It's all about this
one game. It makes or breaks your
year really. A lot of tradition,
history and certainly knowing you
are a part of that with the
traditional things that would have
been happening this week. It's all
about which ever team hold their
You were a blue a few years
before Jamie, Damien. How much does
it mean to you in the course of what
is a very distinguished career?
Snoots a special day, not only
It's a special day, not only for
players, but you are with families,
and the shirt you wear and pass on
to the next year and the next
generation is an incredible
privilege to play here in the
Varsity match. 25 years ago, can you
believe it, when I played and we
actually won. So it still lives
happily in my memory.
Have you ever
been to a Varsity match before?
think 1983 I came with school, all
the rugby teams on the bus to
Twickenham. And I think guys like
Gavin Hastings would have been
playing, maybe Stuart Barnes.
names peppered both sides during the
course of the year. One thing you
mentioned earlier, we should expand
on that. For a lot of the players
this will be the highlight of their
rugby career. Somebody who has
played for the Lions, internationals
dozen of times, what were you able
to say to them about how to approach
a big match, the like of which they
won't have played in before or ever
I suppose as you said,
if these guys, they might never play
a stadium such as this or a game of
this magnitude. For those lads it's
trying to eliminate the occasion and
eliminate the crowd and what it is
and ult mayly it's a game of rugby.
-- ultimately. Try and put in place
today what they've been preparing
for. When you are a player with
maybe not that much experience of
playing in these standards you can
kind of freeze. It's like earning
your first cap or a first big game
for a club. All of a sudden it
passes in a blur and you watch it
back and you are frozen. For these
guys it's all about concentrating on
processes and hopefully putting on
to the park what they've practised
How much is experience a
factor here do you think? One or two
players have played at the highest
level here. They have to guide
players around them a bit.
the balance right. Enjoy the day.
It's a massive occasion for you. Get
out on the field. Get yourself into
the game. Get fundamental skills
right early on. Which ever team will
adapt early on, get that first
catch, first line out scrum,
whatever it is, get that under the
belt and go from there and then you
will be playing a game. The crowd
and the stands and everything else
will disappear. You are playing and
doing what you are doing. If you get
it wrong you can get the day go by
before you have got involved with
the game. Enjoy it, take it in. When
it's time to play do what you do and
play the game and get into it.
mentioned the fact it's wet. It's
glorious now compared to this
morning when the women's match took
place. The third time they've played
the women's match here at
Twickenham. Two years ago Cambridge
won a one-sided match by more than
50 points. Last year, the direct
opposite where in a attritional game
Oxford won with a penalty goal. What
Cambridge with a chance to break the
deadlock. What a hit coming in
There is numbers on the far side.
Still going for it. Coleman thinks
she can go on her own. Still two
inches left. It's been lost forward.
A knock on. Was there a penalty to
come back for?
The ball was still in
and you came in from the side.
like it. Martin is racing back
Martin is going to take it
quickly. She's got numbers. Goes in
hand. She has gone over the line. We
finally break the deadlock.
Cambridge University's Gurney has
the first try of this Varsity match.
If you are going to tap a penalty,
that far, that in front of the post
and not take the three points in a
tight game like this, you have to
make sure you score the five and she
did exactly that.
Someone used to
scoring in the Varsity, Alice
Middleton. And the flags are flying
and Cambridge are seven up against
She is's pushing Middleton to move
here. The ball is going to stay
inside the 22. Time for Middleton to
run. A one on one with Trott. It's
chased. Gibson still going for the
line. It was made by Middleton.
Gibson will finish it off. What a
final five minutes in this first
half for Cambridge University.
Brilliant from Cambridge. It was
always a bit of a risky kick, if you
are going to kick over to Alice
Middleton you need to be stretching
her. Middleton fielded it really
well. There's nobody with her.
Middleton beats her for pace. It's
that decision that makes it, the
kick over because she was
surrounded. Then Gibson's chasing
really well behind her. A huge smile
on her face. What a try for
Cambridge. What a try that is.
Middleton is one from one so far
kicking at goal. Her second
opportunity. You can see the rain
thundering down there on her. And
she remains clean with the boot in
the Varsity. That will be the half.
Cambridge lead here. 14-0.
Here comes the shove. It's not
going. Marks is running. Going on
her own. Still going for the line!
That is over. Is it down cleanly?
She thinks it is. That is
Cambridge's third try of the match.
McAroundle can't get near her.
Lovely quick feet. Real persistence
from Kate Marks getting the ball
over the line.
scrum. This time Kate Marks is not
going to get the opportunity. Gets
the pass away. Donaldson gets it off
to the far side. It's in. It's
straight. It's clear. It's Nicholls
who goes over and that will be the
match now. Time has run out for
Oxford. They still have time to make
a mark on this game but it's
Cambridge who are going to come away
with the spoils with a 24-point lead
and ten minutes to play. That one
hasn't gone into Oxford hands. Marks
kicks it out on the near side. The
whistle blows. Cambridge University
are the 2017 women's Varsity
Victory for the light blues
and their captain Lara Gibson in the
middle there and the defeated Oxford
captain are going to join us at
half-time here at Twickenham this
So let's focus on a few names in
this men's match. Kick-off is in a
few minutes's time. Maybe they're
familiar to you. First of all,
obstacle little Phillips, This is
his last game at 35. Medical Stuart
Briggs makes history, not since 1872
has anybody won seven blues until
today. He is the man. To the dark
blues. Moor is a Canadian
Sap saw was part of the Saracens
team that won six years ago. He is
studying sustainable urban
development now that his
professional career is over.
That's just a few of the players who
have experience at the very highest
level. In terms of what kind of a
game we can expect today, do the
first ten 15 minutes or so set the
template for what's to follow?
first ten 15 minutes or so set the
template for what's to follow?
Let's hope it's better than the 3-0
women's result last year. As you
said, glad the weather has cleared
up. And it's trying to get into the
game as early as possible. The first
line out, first scrum, there will be
a lot of kick to compete today,
because it's greasy and whoever
adapts to the conditions best will
win the game, no doubt.
OK. Here we
go then. It's the 136th University
Varsity match at Twickenham.
The players and all blues gathered
for the match between Oxford and
It's a try surely!
After the interval Oxford had the
The dark blues had been
tipped as easy winners. It didn't
work out that way.
That was one of
the greatest we have seen in a
Varsity match for years.
COMMENTATOR: Waiting so many players
for countries have waited before,
Oxford line up and Cambridge join
them in the Twickenham tunnel. A
couple of players behind Olly
Phillips. It's the blend of
experience. Some played professional
rugby, some might go on to play
professional. Under graduates,
post-graduates, this mix that is the
Getting ready for the 136th meeting.
Going back to 1872. A year after the
first international match between
Scotland and England. They've been
playing for 145 years. Certainly
better conditions than we had for
the women's match. It's a bit
cooler. It's a bit calmer. It's
clear and dry overhead at least. A
little bit damp under foot.
Amesbury. There is the captain of
Oxford, Kearns, very talented
Please be upstanding for the
Are we ready for
the anthem before we get under way
here at Twickenham?
An experience for any rugby player
and I have mentioned some of these
players have wonderful pedigree in
the game and I have seen plenty of
things before but to line up at
Twickenham is still a great thrill.
As mentioned, that blend of rugby
pedigree is here. This is the Oxford
Look out for the power of Australian
Waldouck on the bench after back
The referee is one of the youngest
in the business. Just 24,
Christopher Ridley. Was once in
Leicester academy. Talented player.
Had injury problems, though, and
turned to refereeing. So we are
under way at Twickenham. Hennessy
gets Cambridge going.
Underneath it for Oxford but feel
ago thump there already.
-- feeling a thump there already.
Oxford with powerful forwards in
But Cambridge slightly brighter in
Cambridge have a chance through
Hunter. Strength from the Australian
Bell gets them going again. On to
Koster, the South African second
row. There is Hennessy, tries to
slip around Kearns. Advantage to
Cambridge. Penalty coming their way.
Bell gives it another chance to see
if they can launch an attack. This
So a hopeful little chip.
Not quite grabbed by David. A bit of
a hit from Hunter. They're coming
back for that penalty. An even
contest. And the referee having to
step in and say enough is enough.
Come in Brian Moore, looking forward
to this one.
Yes, like many matches
I have watched over the years, it's
a case of which side settles into
some sort of controlled rhythm.
There's so much riding on this for
the players themselves. Irrespective
of the quality of the fix tier
overall, it means a lot to the
participants and in many years
previous you have seen players
running around with little control
and if one side, usually directed by
the halfbacks, can get that element
of control, that's going to be
Finding touch, Amesbury.
Varsity history in his family, uncle
played for England in the 50s.
Cambridge. What strength do they
have to maul forward. Making
progress. Oxford breaking up a
little bit at the moment. Carried at
the back by Hunter. Cambridge
rolling towards the line. Down to
ground it goes. Bell looks to see
what's on offer. Down the blind
side. A chance for Cambridge. It's
Richardson. Can't quite get there.
Well, celebrations. However we are
going to have a look. Perhaps he did
get there for the opening try.
are checking for touch and then try
or no try please.
Touch first. Stand
The TMO is David Rose. And
everyone inside the stadium looks to
the big screens. We will look at the
Elbow down. Very close. It's touch.
Very good covering tackle.
Richardson unable to get it down
before his elbow hit the whitewash.
Still great pressure on the dark
blues with a shortened line out.
Taken down well by Pozniak.
Not much ground made. All the early
pressure on Oxford and a mocking
ruffle of the hair comes in on
Risky throw we see here. It's a good
cover tackle. Let's put it down to
that. Cambridge previously got the
line out drive on. It was well set.
Unfortunately for them one of their
own men went down. If they can
replicate that and stay up, could be
Here are Cambridge again.
This is worrying for Oxford.
Encouraging for Cambridge. The maaul
is marching once more.
straight in the side there.
backs get a chance. Hennessy carries
it in. Skilful midfield they have,
Hennessy and Russell. Now carried by
Koster. Punches a hole. Then is
stripped. A great steal. Suddenly
Oxford are thrown back. But they do
have that precious ball. Kershaw
pointing the way. From some depth
Kearns has to clear. To mocking
jeers from Cambridge fans.
a fantastic steal on the floor.
was Pozniak in there.
This is one of the front row here
with blue experience, Burnett. Taken
down again by Hunter. Once more they
look for the maul to do its thing.
This one going more sideways. Oxford
don't look too organised in that
defence. The ball is to the ground.
A knock on spares Oxford this time.
Rapturous applause. Saull offering
encouragement. Perhaps now Oxford
will get a chance to clear.
secure carry. You want to offer the
ball backwards, make sure it's close
to the hip. Can't be knocked down.
That's three times Cambridge have
got the drive going and it's been
broken up by their own errors. Two
There is the Cambridge
A chance to look at a scrum for the
first time. Away come Oxford. A good
run from Wilson. Carried by Pozniak
who made that vital steal just about
on the try line. Up it goes from
Kearns. Here is Amesbury. Tries to
evade the clouchs of Moorby. Moor is
there for Oxford in defence. Bell
now. -- clutches.
Richardson has been busy, the number
eight for Cambridge. Bell points the
way. And Nick Koster has played
super 15 rugby in South Africa.
And back they come. I think it was
Pozniak getting carried away. Good
run by Hennessy now. Mike Phillips
gives it to Russell who offloads
well. The challenge was flying up
from Kearns. Carried by the hooker
The law student, 20-year-old.
Under-graduates on the field today.
Phillips having a chuckle on the
ground. And carried this time by
Bell decides to send it up this
time. Three Oxford men around it.
Taken well. Eventually lays it back.
The Oxford forwards decide to set
off. Cambridge counter-rucking may
have stripped it. Illegal in there.
Now a penalty. Oxford with a chance
to clear here.
It is Cambridge who
have had the better of the exchanges
so far but haven't registered points
that will please Oxford. You have to
be careful with kicking strategy
because the Cambridge back three
have significant speed and
experience. Kicking strategy isn't
right and they'll give them a chance
to counterattack. The line kicking
is not going well, is it at the
This is the reason for the
He said the Cambridge number eight
Richardson was fine but the tackler
didn't roll away quickly enough.
Good take by Edgerley.
There is Fifita who could do some
damage, heaviest man on the pitch.
A rare adventure for Oxford. A loop
around. Nice handling. Carried by
David. David gets it back. Looking
for Edgerley. Into the 22. Cambridge
diving in to secure that ball and
turn it over. Just the first glimpse
of some attacking threat from
Oxford. Bell asks his forwards to
earn a few yards.
And it is Chris Bell, history
student. Feeds on to David. Those
two linking up again. Double whammy
on David. Carried in by Ball.
Oxford just building a little bit of
momentum. Good take by Edgerley. Now
space. Carried in by Stileman. Gets
a good thump from Russell and
Hit on Wilson this time. Leonard
doing some damage. But Oxford
beginning to warm a little to the
The forwards do a bit.
So again down the blind side they
Talotti is told to use it, South
African born Italian youth
international. So Kershaw gives it
deep to Kearns. A laboured pass to
Moorby. Gets it to ground
eventually. Kershaw had to be quick
to keep it alive and into the
challenge of Richardson. It's all
with Oxford now. A dozen phases.
A little cute pass into Elvin. But
spilled the ball. Cambridge will
have the put in. More fluent passage
of play from Oxford.
Yes, they'll be
pleased to get into the game, they
spent eight minutes defending. Break
earlier by Stile man. It didn't
look... You don't look you don't
see. Passage of play died with him.
Watching earlier on, Cambridge, you
think they would be able to count
going to Oxford and Cambridge, but
there were four defenders to none. I
don't see why Cambridge were
stacking the blind side because they
were definitely numbers superiority
for Oxford going over if they can
Possibly some are art students. This
was the little break at interplay
with David and Edgerley.
Certainly after a very bright start
by Cambridge, Oxford are more than
coming back into it, beginning to
look ever more threatening. Tackles
made and missed, pretty even on that
Slightly step off, that's not where
it was. That's good.
The last scrum wasn't entirely
satisfactory. Oxford got it all -
Cambridge got it all wrong rather in
the early engage.
Martin Johnson is animated. Almost
as animated as he was sitting there
as a coach of England.
Oxford perhaps a little bit of a
Back it comes to Mike Phillips.
Carry in again by Edgerley. Not the
biggest man but plenty of life in
him. That kick away spiralling
through the sky.
Clearing kick, not too bad, around
the halfway mark.
We might be in for a close contest
Richardson Hennessy on Edgerley.
Richardson Hennessy on Edgerley.
Chat between John Aaron
Henry and Ed Elvin. Elfyn hit his
man again right in the middle.
Curtains delayed and delayed and
paid the price. Dan Moor with all
that experience. A nice off-load to
Ed Elvin. The trundle on from Kieran
Ball, a former England and Irish
age-group prop. Edgerley. Hunter
eventually got him. Oxford piling on
through. Advantage to the dark Blues
as well. Dan Moor goes to ground.
They'll come back for that penalty
This is what I mean by the
element of control. Four or five
carries, scrappy, not getting the
ball back as quickly as he wanted
from the breakdown. Establishes some
control. Consistent, quick ball.
He'll likely get on top.
Interesting to hear the language
doesn't necessarily change depending
on your education, if you heard
anything unsavoury we have to
For ones I missed that!
It doesn't matter.
looking more bullish in the scrum.
The pick-up by Wil Wilson. Inside
pass. Stileman coming off the wing.
Amesbury scoops it up. Cambridge
have a chance to come away. Bell the
little scrum-half in there. Stripped
this time. A chance for Kearns to
prod it through and here is Ollie
Phillips. Taken in by Kershaw. Here
is Edgerley again. Edgerley is made
to sit down by Matt Watson. A
penalty for the challenge. I see
Matt Watson acknowledging his
It didn't look that bad to
me. We see this full speed. In slow
motion it always looks much more
Is the duty of care to
return him to ground.
what's he might have just about
picked his legs over his shoulders,
but frankly, that, to me, he's a
good tackler, nothing wrong at all.
Sometimes difficult when it's a big,
powerful man like Matt Watson, or a
much lighter figure like Edgerley...
Oxford's line-out continues to work
well. A chance now for Andy Saull
looking for support. Fallen into
Cambridge hands and it is Matt
Watson. He lays a protective pore
over it for an age. Buchan
Richardson tries to carry for just a
yard. Cambridge having to dig
themselves out from deep inside
their own 22. Molby has taken a hit,
the Oxford Centre. He might be
injured. If he's injured, that's not
proper physiotherapy. The kit is
Clean line breaks are
a premium in any game. When you make
one, you really do have two... It's
a symbol inside ball. I can't tell
from here but I wouldn't mind
betting that was a call from the
Cambridge number six Matt Watson.
When you are carrying and hear the
call, you give the ball.
Waldouck and his luxuriant moustache
getting ready to come on. He's
really struggled with a back
problem. Oxford on the charge. Must
have gone forward eventually to
Talotti. Find the referee, Kieran
Ball. Burrows on into the 22.
Kershaw to Kearns and deep again to
Moorby. Here is Fifita. Oxford just
beginning to stretch this Cambridge
defence. Kershaw ushering out some
forwards. And once more to Fifita.
No substitute for a bit of bulk. And
there is Dan Moor. A little gang of
forwards set off once again, once
more it is Kieran Ball, the tight
head. Edgerley looking for the
support runners. Oxford building,
Cambridge defence. Solid at the
moment. A good charge from Wil
Wilson, still going again. Once
more, Amesbury comes away with it.
Bouncers of Edgerley. A plate
clearing run from Charlie Amesbury.
Chris Bell had a chance to move it
out of the lips. Edgerley has popped
up there. Twice now Charlie Amesbury
has been in the right place at the
right time for Cambridge. Kick into
space over the head of Phillips.
Cambridge once more back to back
deep into their own 22.
of the bounce. But he deserves the
credit. But Cambridge right back in
their own red zone. Oxford at the
moment are warming to the task. If
they can avoid errors like that,
they'll register a score because
several times they haven't quite got
the ball back quick enough from the
ball going forward. They've had an
imbalance of numbers against
Cambridge defenders. Weather is in
charge of the Cambridge defensive
system will be having a word. While
they've scrambled well, they've been
resetting, players have been slow to
get in position. The keeper Oxford
is to get quicker ball when they
make one or two yards after the
initial contact. Then to recognise
which side the imbalance is
occurring on. Twice they've gone
right when the imbalance was left.
Cambridge wouldn't want to lose
Jonathan Dixon. He played last year
in the victory, the Ulsterman. And
he's a heavy bit of ballast heaviest
in the Cambridge side.
Cambridge are safely gathering in
their line-out, not too much
pressure coming down on Chris Bell
as it clears. Not too much ground
made. Oxford will have the ball.
They are in a difficult position
with little or no angle, I think
you're better off putting in a
box-kick. Getting a winger to stand
under it and get the defensive line
in the shape, rather than giving
possession closer to the line.
Elvin, the New Zealander, former
University of Avatar -- Otago. The
dark Blues beginning to rumble
forward. Making very good ground.
Seems a long time ago that, now.
Oxford continued our wonder towards
the try line. A fair strip from
Andrew Hunter, the Australian lock
forward. Out of Australia managed to
lose that at the heart of the maul?
-- how did Australia manage?
opening ten minutes, the loose
I'll have that!
tucked it under the body.
a bit injured for his troubles and
efforts. The man from Sydney, Andrew
Hunter. A few bashers in there.
Whilst there hasn't been any
registered scores, it's been an
entertaining game so far.
ball, but very much in their danger
area. 15 metres from their own line.
Free to Cambridge.
Amesbury checks where the mark is.
There's no point in doing that,
because whether in that defensive
situation, they're not going to
clear the ball. You get the line-out
throw when it goes off this way
round. He's given a free kick so it
instruction from Henry, the
loosehead prop, to Elvin. And wrong.
Taken on by Watson. Cambridge for
the first time getting into the
Oxford half. Buchan Richardson and
Cambridge have the penalty.
coming in at the side.
for Oxford. They were in a grand
position. Buy a couple of silly
mistakes they find themselves back
up their own 22.
That the point.
It's about doing the right thing,
not straying offside when you know
where the parameters, the gates are
on the breakdown.
We've had 50
minutes or so of solid Oxford
pressure, Cambridge back inside the
Oxford 22. A chance for Andrew
Burnett to get his man on the
line-out. Bit of an overthrow. Both
sides have lost their first line-out
of the match. Andy Saull takes it in
for Oxford. So deep that Kearns has
to get back kick away. Cambridge
will have another chance.
line-out still within the 22. That
is an overthrow. When you look back
and starts more what you've won and
have won in the line-up percentages,
it can tell you something, but it's
the ones that really count.
chance for Cambridge as the Oxford
defence slipped away for a moment.
Bell get it going once more to
Buchan Richardson. Bell looks and
points. The forwards take it in
again. Stephen Leonard the flanker,
six metres for the line. Attack
around the neck of the Cambridge
man. Nick Koster... Koster rolling
his way on a little bit further.
Opportunity. Bell tries to slip
through. Cambridge getting closer
still. Two metres from the line. The
drive. Can they get it done? They
can, surely. The referee will have a
long look at this. Over the line.
Definitely. Was it down, though?
Charlie Amesbury once more.
the closest man, the referee, by
Simple question, try or no
trifle David Rose, the TMO. -- or no
try for David Rose.
He can't see there. It's held up and
it's on someone's arm. Does that go
down? Still can't see from that
Kearns in defence, his arm
wrapped underneath it. So, too, Ed
I don't think you can give
this. When the question is Charlie
or no try. -- try or no try. No,
it's still clearly up there.
stuff. No clear and obvious
Very good defensive work
by Ed David and Conor Kearns. Booing
from the fans of the light Blues,
but absolutely the right decision.
Couldn't see it down.
attacking opportunity for Cambridge.
Amesbury, Phillips, very quick out
He's been impressive so far,
Charlie aims. In particular has been
lively, good work in defence, couple
of interventions. Nearly a try
Will have to work hard to
keep the right-hand side of the
scrum up. Keep the back row of
Oxford at least square.
Doesn't look too stable, Cambridge
have to push on Bell now. Gives it
all. The spill. Oxford will have the
scrum. The knock-on.
That came from
the inventiveness of Bell. Wasn't
expecting the pass.
It was Henry
King coming in. Just couldn't grasp
Had he done so, would have
The power of the
collision on Chris Bell dislodged
the ball as much of anything else.
King unable to gather it. A little
bit damp out there today, five
handling errors a piece. You would
think it wouldn't be an entertaining
game at 0-0 but it's been pretty
lively. Though its Oxford's ball,
and I hear some academic language...
Once again apologies. Five metres
from the Oxford line.
shouted, this is the scrum we talked
about. They must have a riveting
This particular scrum.
Cambridge are trying to put a
squeeze on, look at the power coming
through. Bell is true. Chris Bell
has the try. Perhaps it was the
scrum they talked about. Cambridge
with the opening try of the match.
Errant by the forwards, errant, and
scored by Chris Bell.
of credit, the Cambridge number
three. Modern European history
student born in Belfast. Watch from
here. You can't see from that angle
but he absolutely stuffed his
opposite number, John Henry. He gets
the scrum going forward. From tight
head almost inevitably you're going
to go backwards if you're in that
position. Nothing they could do
about that out wide.
sitting behind the Cambridge coach.
They were appreciating that one.
Interesting game because Oxford had
15 minutes of really solid pretty
dominant possession, couldn't take
the points. But an opportunity for
Mike Phillips to push it pretty
In a game that might be
tight, watch the scrum... Looks to
be in a bad position. But he is
lifted. Henry shot out the side
there. You can see his head is not
underneath the chest. Once your
split like that, the second row has
nothing to push on. You can go
backwards at a rate of knots.
battle of two Ulsterman. John Dixon
going through John Aaron Henry. Just
a 5-point try. Conversion is not the
prettiest from Mike Phillips. A
moment to remember for Chris Bell, a
20-year-old history undergraduate.
Once more, Ed Elvin, this time to
Pozniak on the second row. Stripped
by Buchan Richardson.
Buchan Richardson is offside.
Shouldn't mind being dragged back
for that, gives him a better angle.
Conor Kearns kicked it into touch.
Ten or 12 metres out.
I think it's
important for Oxford psychologically
to come away from this passage of
play with some points.
complaining to the referee that
Cambridge are closing the channel. A
degree in law and Finance gives you
that power. Oxford now with a dried,
down it goes. A penalty coming for
Oxford. They are romping towards the
line. Dark blue bodies pile in will
stop new advantage given. Conor
Kearns tries to skip through. Dow
metres out. Oxford piling over the
top. The referee makes it clear they
still have that advantage.
have numbers out wide if they go
Andy Saull calls for it. With
his back to the Cambridge defence.
Oxford again. Edgerley tried to make
his way around. Back they come for
The referee has
giving the advantage for the second
drug driving maul. There was a case
for a penalty try. -- -- secondary
The bridge will be
pleased if they are only going to
concede three points.
The first one
here, clearly dragged down. This is
a second one. Where is that going to
go? Well, maybe the referee will say
in the balance of probability, that
definitely would have been scored
because it was further out than he
would like. As they say, were seen
There is Conor Kearns,
born in San Francisco, but played
for monster under 20s. Ireland
universities, USA age-group teams.
Former university College Dublin
student. And now to give Oxford
their first points of the match, a
look from the touch judges.
Eventually satisfied. Oxford on the
board. Again Cambridge will be very,
very satisfied it's only three
points for Oxford.
There is some
reward for Oxford's efforts this
half, for which they've been
dominant for a good 50, 60%.
Cambridge in no hurry for the
restart. In the sea eventually
coming forward. Harlequins Academy
just across the road at the
Twickenham Stoop. Since this one
high. A spill from Wilson. Penalty
to Cambridge. It happened so often.
Immediately cede the advantage from
It's instinctive as well
that Fifita had enough time...
looked a bit... He knows.
He's in an
offside position. It came forward
off the hands of Will Wilson. We've
seen it done and very high level.
Happens all the time in rugby.
Sometimes it's just instinctive.
Probably did have a moment to think
about what was going on. And an
opportunity immediately for
Cambridge and Mike Phillips. To
extend their lead. Once again he
shoves it wide. His last kick, to
the right-hand side. It might well
be a close game. This one has every
look of that. These kicks could
10-3, which is what it
would have been. Had he kicked the
other two. Which were definitely
kickable. Very different complexion
on the game at half-time if you go
in with a converted try lead.
Cambridge forwards again. There is
Nick Koster. Ed Elvin reluctant to
get out of the way there. Amesbury
has tremendous power. Former sevens
player with great upper body
strength. Nick Koster tries to get
that offload, it goes forward to
Hunter. Hennessy gathers it in. The
knock-on brings the scrum to Oxford.
Talking about the power. When you
have what you have here, a number of
pro-or former pro players against
essentially amateurs, the training
regimes they've been brought up with
will be vastly superior.
A Word for
Ollie Phillips in your picture
there, this is his final match of
rugby ever he promises, 35, former
England sevens captain, terrible
injury in 2013 with his calf, he
retired. He was world sevens Player
of the Year in 2009. He does so many
other things now. He's a poll
tracker, mountain climber. He works
in the city. Doing an executive MBA.
This is his last game of rugby.
Moorby flinging it away. A penalty.
The referee Christophe Ridley
spotted a push from Ollie Phillips.
His wily ways. Illegal wily ways.
Well spotted by the referee.
Definite push. It shows what
happens. If a planned move goes
wrong and you are mistimed by
stopping pass, which that was, to
move the ball on is almost certainly
going to you in more trouble. Kearns
gets a decent distance on this.
Phillips stretching those old limbs
to try to get to that one. Can't
keep it in. There will likely be one
period of play now before half-time.
From their point of view, ideal.
Maybe you could say vital. They
record another score. Doesn't matter
how it comes, penalty, drop goal.
Just register something. Going with
Elvin again. This time
taken by the big right hand of
Charlie Pozniak. Sent it back to
soar. Stileman coming in off the
wing again. Oxford moving forward.
Moor gives it onto Edgerley but the
ball is spilled. Cambridge will have
the scrum. More threat about Oxford
when they come forward.
Cambridge, their attacking phases of
play, certainly the first 1015
metres were mainly forward
orientated. We get to see the back
three, the dangerous back three, of
Cambridge. As I say, a little bit
more fluency from Oxford without
registering the scores. Made a
couple of clean breaks. Haven't been
known to capitalise on them. I would
think Cambridge will take half-time
now, get the ball off the field.
That's what I was thinking. They had
that look about them. The ability to
they have time to find a good touch.
We talked about the professional
game, weight training, conditioning,
look at Charlie Amesbury as he finds
a good touch. He is every inch the
professional Rugby player. They are
the Andrew Burnett fans. I think
it's his face. It is partridge like.
Excited members of the public.
idol finds his man. With this final
attack in the first half. A chance
for Hennessy. Hennessy is in the
try. He scores, they celebrate. I
wonder if the referee might be
having a look. Hennessy celebrates.
What a try that is given. What a way
to finish this first half for
We are checking for forward pass
before the try was scored.
That looks forward to me. It's
whether the hands were moving
That is a marginal one.
That is marginal.
You almost want to see it from the
other side. To see where the hands
Those are all the angles.
For me that pass from 12 his hands
are going forward and the ball goes
No try. Well, big, big
decision there. Cheers from the
Oxford supporters. Ex-askerated look
from Hennessy, now Boos from the
light blues. -- exasperated.
in the end it was probably right.
It's the movement of the hands. Well
worked move. Lovely line.
Had the run been delayed by a yard,
would still have worked. Probably if
there is a fault and culpability, it
lies with the runner.
Well, it's a
seven-point decision because under
the posts went Hennessy and the
clock is now red and Oxford looking
to win this and they're the ones who
want to get this half over now.
Although the scrum again looking
pretty solid there. Not kicking it
out yet as Kearns carries. Still
Still thinking of more points in
this half, Oxford.
Deep it goes to Moor.
Pick up and go by Talotti. It's
still there for Oxford, a minute of
red time played. Still they go
looking for more. Number eight is
there. Elvin comes in to clear out.
And Ball again. Good defence from
And now it's loose. Edgerley has to
scuttle back. It's still loose. But
out it goes. That will end an
intriguing entertaining first half.
Yes. Not many points scored.
That one try from
Chris Bell, the Cambridge scrum half
but certainly all to play for in the
second half of this 136th Varsity
The weather at the moment is
wretched, so if you are sitting at
home in front of the telly on
Thursday afternoon this is an
enjoyable way to spend a few hours.
Obviously the game is fascinatingly
poised but key moments in the last
few minutes. Big decision made by
the TMO, referee, assistant
the TMO, referee, assistant
referees. You wanted to pick up on
the fact that there were two minutes
of play in the red zone there. There
was no reason for Oxford to keep on
playing there at all.
Yeah, the risk
of reward of playing in that, when
the clock is up, they get a
turnover, holding penalty there.
Obviously Cambridge would be allowed
to kick to touch and get the line
out. So, yeah, maybe question why
they're trying to play but it's
quite daft, I think.
What about the
quality of the game?
I enjoyed it.
Last year was a fantastic rugby
match. Today, even though the
scoreline isn't high, it's been
enthralling stuff. Both sides hugely
committed. The quality, five
handling errors I think and ropey
conditions, so it's been good. The
guys as you expect are fully into it
and it's been a gripping game.
have a few examples here of some of
the tackles especially in the first
quarter of an hour.
the tackles especially in the first
quarter of an hour. A long period of
dominance by Oxford but Cambridge
defence weren't messing around.
been special. Just the commitment
from both teams. Some of the shots
going in are painful toll watch.
It's on both sides -- painful to
watch. The referee is do a great job
In terms of opportunities
at key moments, the wrong player
from the attacking team's point of
view, the wrong player has been
there to take the ball away of some
key turnovers, especially by
Cambridge at certain moments.
and they needed it. You felt there
was dominance coming in and again, I
guess it's new laws, but some of the
expansive rugby played, but
fantastic turnovers. Back three have
been working very well for
Cambridge. It's much needed because
they're under a lot of pressure from
Amesbury has had an
interception there which probably
saved seven points. The back three
are doing a great job. Clearing up
line breaks and at times when
they've been under severe pressure.
Key turnovers are vital points. It's
an exciting game to watch actually.
We have the only try coming up here
from Bell. You can talk about how
important it is to have intricacy of
passing and off load and everything,
but forwards win matches, and
forwards created this try.
at the different size and weight
packs with the sides and Chris Bell
has had an outstanding first half,
really bossed the game well. What an
extraordinary good scrummage from
Cambridge. They struggled in
forwards previously particularly
when Oxford went through that
six-game winning streak. It's been
fantastic to see Chris Bell pick up
a gift of a try.
Before the match we
were saying it's a huge game for the
Cambridge forwards having watched
them the last few months, having to
bring that intensity, so to drive
Oxford off their own ball, it was
special to score that try. The scrum
half enjoyed that I think.
generational thing about forward
passes, what are the laws and is it
the hands going forward, the hands
going back? But this was a big
decision here which could have a
major empack on the outcome of the
game. What's your take. -- impact.
was jumping for joy seeing Hennessy,
fellow Harlequin, playing in number
12 going under the sticks. Forward
pass. No doubt. Hands were forward.
Ball moved forward as well. That is
a potential game changer that
decision. Oxford will take a lot of
confidence from that going into half
time, would have been two points
We do see a lot of those
In years gone past I expect
everyone, including the referee, had
a few drinks on board before the
game started! It's all changed.
know there is a big lunch for teams
that played 50 years ago.
missing out actually!
They're on the port at the moment.
You can go back in a second. Six nil
to Cambridge. One try and a penalty.
Looking at the pictures of that on
u-tube this morning it was 50-000
people or so. When you look at the
place this game has in the rugby
calendar, do you think it should be
moved to a Saturday, or played some
other time to give it more
preeminence or is it here because
history dictates that and that's
There are so many different
variations around whether you should
play at a different stadium, on a
Saturday. Both of us and everyone
who enjoys the Varsity match it's a
special occasion. Not only to be
part of as a player but also as a
fan. I think it's a unique day out
for objection Fathered and Cambridge
and has its place in the -- day out
for Oxford and Cambridge.
about the Barbarians, British Lions
and all the matches that happen
outside the domestic leagues and
international calendar. I think the
Varsity match has a place up there
as well. It's a huge tradition, the
history, players who have played
down the years. It's a magnificent
fixture and long may it continue.
Hopefully we can see in years to
come a bigger crowd and get back to
where it was in the 60s, 70s, and
they sell out dwik nap.
interesting because you look at some
of the players who are coming back
to university -- Twickenham. They've
all gone through professional rugby
and are enjoying rugby so much more
rather than pressure cooker of
Premiership rugby, they're saying we
want to play, enjoy it, have a great
time as Jamie did when he was
Olly Phillips playing at
35, there was a period in the middle
of his career it was all about the
money and all about the result to be
all and end all and he is finishing
his career as he began, for the
sheer love of playing the game, it's
the joy of being a rugby player.
will never turning up to training
and lads late because they've had
lectures. They're not getting paid
to play. The result matters but it's
more the friendships and
relationships you form when you are
there. You play for fun. It's purely
for fun. For those lads like Olly
who are going back to do - who have
played professional rugby, it's an
amazing feeling when you are playing
just for fun and for the
relationships you make.
today for the third time at
Twickenham the women's match took
place with Cambridge and Oxford.
Here are a couple of the key
That ball is going to stay inside
the 22. Time for Middleton to run.
One on one. She decides to hack it
on. It's chased. It's into the bread
basket. Gibson still going for the
line. It was made by Middleton.
Gibson will finish it off. What a
final five minutes.
Another Cambridge scrum. Kate Marks
will not get the opportunity. Pass
is away. Off to the far side. It's
in and straight and clear. It's
Nicholls who goes over and that will
be the match now. Time has run out
The two captains are here with us
The two captains are here with us
now. Obviously one more happy from
the other. What did that mean to you
being out there today and scoring
It meant so much. I am so
proud of the girls. It was really
tough to take that loss last year
and we did everything that we could
to put us in a position to win back
that trophy and we did. I am
Here is your
try. When the ball was kicked here.
Were you thinking Kick It Out of
I was thinking I want to
support Alice. I shoe she would be
able to get around some of their
defence. I wasn't expecting the
kick. As soon as she did it I knew I
had to get there first. Luckily
that's what happened. I had the pace
to finish. It was a little bit
unexpected but we made it work.
Sophie, 0-0 until
almost five minutes before
half-time. It could have gone either
It definitely could. At
half-time we had a massive reset. We
played them as two separate matches.
They were lucky in the last minutes
of the first half. Yeah, I think it
could have gone either way until the
last 20 minutes really.
about the conditions. It was pretty
When I came off my feet
were squelching so much! Wringing
out all the clothes.
of playing here, what is it like, a
lot of the team were doing it for
the first time, what have they said
about the vibe?
I mean, it's just an
incredible experience, from start to
finish. I am so lucky this is the
third time I have done it and it
never gets old. Still it's an honour
to be on this pitch, especially to
be scoring tries. But just to be
here and have the whole experience
of playing at Twickenham is a luxury
and we are so lucky to have that.
Are you going to have that try on a
loop and just watch it all night
every night now?
I might watch it a
few more times!
I bet you will.
Thank you for talking to us, have a
great night. Well done to all. The
sport here on BBC television
culminates in Liverpool in ten days'
After races won and medals gained,
records broken and punches thrown,
after the hard yards, hard games are
done, the giants conquered and
trophies etched forever, after the
legends have taken their bow, and
new ones have emerged there is only
one thing left to decide. BBC Sports
Personality of the Year 2017.
Live from Liverpool.
And one or two other things to tell
you about. The Six Nations begins
with Wales and Scotland. What a
fantastic match that is to kick off
And snooker follows us here on BBC
So, just waiting for the players to
come out for the second half. It's
quite - it's a game without any
defined shape in many ways. You
can't say one side is dominant in
any area. What would you have been
saying at half-time from - let's
make you the Oxford captain, what
would you have been saying from that
In the last 20 the ball
was flying about, they were keen to
press on. I think you have to
tighten things up and control the
game more than they were in that
first half. Just try and, as Martin
said at the outset, bring order,
first tackles, first set piece,
bring calmness to the play. It's all
over the shop at the moment.
the magnificently moustacheowed
Waldouck. Let's go back to the
COMMENTATOR: There was that glimpse
of Waldouck on in the centre for
Again a player of real talent.
He has played once this season. He
had a back operation in the summer.
It was a doubt whether he might be
on the bench today.
But he is on the pitch now.
And he is on for Moorby, he was
struggling with that shoulder
problem. Carried on now by Wilson.
Good early defensive work from
Cambridge. Still Oxford's ball. That
might be forward. Indeed it was.
Factor always in games will be how
restrictive teams use their bench
but you also have the element of
players who either Orange have
played professional rugby and -- who
either are or have played
professional rugby and see which of
the sides fade in the last 20 which
is inevitable with some of them.
First scrum of the second half.
Oxford seem to have a bit of an
Less than stable.
Beautiful. The contrast with the
women's game earlier. It's an
example of line consreks. The front
goes through and horrible rain and
wind and afterwards it's colder and
clearer. -- convection. Dear, oh,
dear, I am a tedious man!
fly by in your house!
That one scrum
lost is the telling one that brought
the try for Chris Bell.
The referee will lose patience.
On this side Henry,
sometimes he gets his head and chest
Feet up, same for you.
At other times it's outside. When
that happens it's a weak position
scrummaging wise. If he doesn't stay
in and splits from the hooker, that
means the second row just loses a
Crouch, bind, set.
Penalty this time to Oxford is the
decision. Cambridge felt they were
getting a bit of a squeeze on.
And tempers beginning to just
Not driving straight is the
decision. The Cambridge coaching
set-up not entirely happy with that
decision. A chance now for Kearns to
send it to touch. And give the dark
blues the first attacking platform.
Can't see from this side, but the
loose head rolled in. Depends
actually whether he was the first to
go in or he was taken in...
Struggling there, Briggs, but he is
making a record today, 7th
appearance in the Varsity match.
Studying medicine. You can add on
extra courses, study for seven
years. Seven years!
Untidy line out. A chance here.
Plenty of dark blue shirts back
there. One is Kearns.
Comes out to Cambridge. Chip ahead
from Bell. Bell chasing it down
Enough dark blue bodies back there.
One is David. Back for the 22.
was quickly aware of where the space
was. Didn't get the bounce he
Does put Cambridge into Oxford
Height on the restart.
Long and taken by Charlie Amesbury.
Gives it to Richardson.
Goes to ground briefly. But went
backwards. Hunter gathers it in.
Lovely offload now to Koster. Gives
it to Hennessy.
It's been slowed down now. Needs to
Down the blind side they
go through Koster.
Forwards linking up again. Taken in
Phillips gives it on to Burnett.
Hennessy picks and goes himself.
Richardson. Koster. A good hit comes
in. Waldouck getting involved. Now a
chance, a real chance. Carried in by
But goes to dark blue hands.
Haven't seen too much of Russell,
Finn Russell's younger brother.
There is Fifita.
Kearns once again, over the head of
A little bit messy at times. Both
sides making mistakes.
partial break. Good offload. Problem
for Cambridge here is when this
tackle is made they can't get the
ball back quickly.
So Burnett goes to the front. Hunter
was there. Cambridge with a chance
to go again. Tackle flying up from
Kearns. Hennessy slipped past it.
Hunter loses control.
It's a knock on by dark blue.
Cambridge ball then. That
Hunter receiving a check. He has
taken a knock there.
Are you happy, doctor?
wants to go on but the referee
checking with the doctor that he is
OK to continue, which he is.
on blue. Forward.
with a good attacking position here.
Outside the 22 but they've a decent
sized blind side which they seem to
be ignoring moment. The man waiting
to come on is Miller, coming on in
the front row, on for Henry.
So loose head change.
5'7" but he can really get
underneath a tight head.
Ball started at loose head last
That's totally illegal.
a free kick. It's now a penalty.
Through the mark.
He has given it
for pushing early through the mark.
Not only that, Ball's positioning...
Completely illegal, coming from an
angle. That's why the scrum head
side, that's why he got the
purchase, because he is effectively
A prop change before
a scrum, it all goes horribly wrong.
Now Mike Phillips hasn't kicked too
well so far from T today for
Cambridge. A chance to stretch the
light blues' lead.
He is happier with that one. Up go
the flags. Cambridge move five
points clear. A puff of the cheeks
from Mike Phillips. Two misses
earlier on, that one will give him
A long restart from Kearns again.
Taken in by Richardson.
He has had a few charging runs
Chris Bell points the way. And sends
it that way to Briggs.
Again good work by Koster. You can
see his rugby quality. Former super
15 player for The Stormers.
Bell sends it high. Good take by
Phillips complaining to the referee.
To no avail. Taken in by Elvin,
Oxford hooker. Deep to Waldouck. Out
it goes. Now to Moor.
Fifita again, the Australian. Oh!
Through the middle. And Wilson now
on the charge. Support outside from
Kearns. Inside now. Miller was
there. Oxford within 12 metres now
of the Cambridge line. Penalty to
Cambridge. Holding on to that ball.
Again we see clean break coming to
A man down injured as well.
We will look at that break. But
doesn't look... Looks unpleasant
injury. But it was a wonderful break
Good line. There was
support on the left. Don't think he
Wilson to Miller. This was
Is he looking around? No, he
is looking at what's in front. Not
necessarily where the support is.
Although he offloaded the ball, the
better line and support lines were
on the left.
Trying to see who it is
for Cambridge that's down there.
It's going to take about
five minutes. Not sure what you are
going to do in terms of keeping warm
I think it is Watson.
doctor says it will take about five
minutes, it's up to you in terms of
Seems to be holding
swappedling to his ear. --
The referee says it
will take about five minutes. That's
the information from the doctor.
Something to do with the neck,
something serious. He is moving his
Yes, a knee to the ear.
knee, as well, Fifita.
He did a lot
of the good carrying work for Oxford
in the first half. They'll need him
to do that again.
It is Watson.
So Matt Watson is the man down
Taking every care with him. He knew
instantly, felt it on his knee.
Didn't look too bad but clearly has
done some damage. This is the try
for Bell earlier. The Cambridge
scrum, we were talking about Atsu
half-time, as well, Oxford had a
good scrum but that one went
Normally from a
tight head you want to be down and
low, he got in under to lift. The
Oxford loose head. Once you are out
the side there, not only are you
ineffective, but the platform for
the second row, you know, on your
right, it leaves you completely and
nothing you can do. Scrum is going
to go back once you split the hooker
and loose head like that.
Putting a neck brace on as well. You
hope... Hope is the wrong word to
use, you hope it's the superficial
injury. Something to his ear rather
than anything more serious.
Sometimes when you see them putting
on the neck brace... They have to go
through all these precautions, of
course. It's going to be a long
break here, everyone keeping warm.
After we restart, keep the momentum
Three purported scores. That
was definitely an elbowing touch.
Amesbury couldn't get that down.
Then we had Hennessy as well.
can see the runner just overruns.
Just by a fraction.
It was mad once
he was the link man, he's the man
down, still receiving treatment.
Doctor said it would take a good few
minutes. They've been holding his
head in position all that time. It's
not too serious. The younger brother
of Finn Russell. He plays in the
Scottish club league. Played a game
with Finn when Finn Russell was
coming back from injury, played
together. They haven't had much to
do in this game, Russell, not too
This is an
important time in the game. By that
I mean when long breaks like this
take place, unfortunately they have
two when you have medical
situations. Once I'd always comes
out the better. One side responds
more quickly. Doesn't matter whether
you go drills, having a chat. It
We talked about
the physicality of the game at
half-time. There have been some huge
ships coming in. Double tackles as
well. The art of the modern game,
low and high. Didn't even have the
ball. But a good game as well. Just
five points the difference. As Brian
was saying, after the restart, a
long bit of treatment to Matt
Watson. It imperative... It's like
going out for the start of the game
again, concentrating on the first
ten minutes, then going hard.
Starting from scratch can be very
Still wondering what the
significance of those... The missed
conversion and the missed penalty by
Mike Phillips might be. The
converted score will see Oxford go
in front, had he kicked his kicks.
They'd be five points further up.
Therefore beyond that. Needing two
scores for Oxford to overhaul them.
Mike Phillips landed his last kick.
He did it too early. One is a missed
conversion, missed penalty. They
weren't the most difficult kicks. It
should come down to a matter of fine
margins later. This wasn't too far
wide. His conversion earlier on was.
A 5-point game. Players applauding
off their team-mate, only now
leaving the field. Just being loaded
onto the body. There is Dom Waldouck
in the foreground. Just looking at
the list of international players
who played in this fixture, as Matt
Watson takes his applause, we wish
him all the very best. There really
is a list of the great and good of
rugby. Gavin Hastings was a captain,
of a winning Cambridge side in 1995.
You're looking quizzical.
wondering what course they did.
sad sight for Matt Watson, receiving
all the care he should. We hope it's
not too serious. He's certainly
played his part in this game, some
big, big carriers. A carry in that
try, chalked off for Jake Hennessey.
I don't know what his degree was.
English. I think it was a proper
course. Gavin did land economy.
look too straight from Cambridge at
the line-out. That's fine, says the
referee. It from Mike Phillips. The
mark just called by Sam Edgerley. He
knew where he was. We chuckle at
land economy, I'm sure it's a
valuable sportsman's degree. Gavin
Hastings is watching, cursing at the
Charlie Amesbury is
doing a Masters in social innovation
can I have no idea what that is.
Hopefully he does by this stage of
his degree. Social innovation. Taken
well by Cambridge. We talk about the
importance of the restart, getting
into the flow of the game again. A
good hit, Stephen Leonard. Alun Wyn
Jones and George Norton went to
school there. Richardson again.
Leonard once more. Andrew Hunter,
Cambridge linking well, lovely from
Russell. The pass wasn't so good.
Despite the attempt to control from
Henry King, it's in Oxford hands
now. Sam Baldock sees the space.
Outside, not quite, -- Waldouk sees
the space. Scrum for Cambridge. Just
had to juggle. No excuse for that
kind of pass. Nor indeed that sort
of drop. The former Heineken Cup
winner with Wasps, Dom Waldouck.
Former Saracens Premiership winner
I was going to say it was for
Movember, but we've moved beyond
Movember, so he has no excuse, Dom
Waldouck. Phillips gives it deep,
the chance for Cambridge. Amesbury
hitting the line from full-back,
onto Archie Russell. Cambridge
pouring into secure this ball. Saull
trying to get his hands on, can't
get it there. Nick Koster, the
second row. Will Briggs. Briggs
still going, not quite held.
Cambridge with a 5-point lead
looking for another try. There is
Russell, Russell Grant the outside.
A score for Cambridge, Archie
Russell has their second. Cambridge
moving further clear.
narrow in attack for a moment. I
thought they would have to drive
close. Eventually we managed to
regroup out wide left. Simple art,
well taken. Well recognised by the
scrum-half, to take the right
option, the correct option.
brother take so many of the
headlines in rugby these days. Finn
Russell. Archie Russell getting the
try, the second try for Cambridge.
The other problem that caused that
Fox had was the defensive line
wasn't flat, it was dog lead.
the Scottish Premiership title last
year with air. Had to get a first
class honours degree in chemical
engineering at Strathclyde to get
into Cambridge. -- with Ayr.
Cambridge is now ten points clear.
You can see Ed Davey two yards
behind. The inside defender gives
the natural arc. Space for Russell.
He was good enough to take
Hops away from the touchline.
Edgerley comes forward. Tries to
skip his way around Henry Rose, who
is on the field for Matt Watson.
Receiving treatment deep inside the
stadium. Here is Waldouck, he loops
it out to Dan Moor, who stabs it
forward. Amesbury weights. Good take
by Kershaw. Into Edgerley. Stileman.
Powerful winger. Still going, lovely
work to Will Wilson. Stileman the
man of the match a couple of years
ago. We saw his power on the wing.
He's gathering it up now, tries to
drive his way up over the halfway
line. Kershaw calling in support.
Kieran Ball now. Oxford have to find
something. Ten points adrift. Kearns
sees a bit of space over the head of
Henry King. It sits nicely for
Oxford. King has to be lively now.
He's under all sorts of pressure.
Mother is there. The other dark
shirts arrive. -- Moor is there.
Down to ground goes Buchan
Richardson. And the boot just
teasing it out. Saull comes through.
Cambridge under pressure. They have
the ball, the forwards, though.
Inside their own 22. Bell sends up
the box-kick. Taken by Edgerley.
Flings it infield. Will Wilson has
been lined up. Bundling forward,
great run by Wilson. Oxford on the
front foot again. Kearns trying to
dig his way in, off-loads it now.
Couldn't get his hands on it is Hugo
McPherson. Cambridge have it anyway.
Amesbury from a standing start. Wall
dog gets to him. That is not on all
the way back from Oxford. Gives
Cambridge the scrum. Inside their
own 22, great work by Will Wilson.
clear line break, he needs to be
supported. You have to say Cambridge
have scrambled well in defence.
Ceded ground occasionally from
primary phases. Scrambled well.
McPherson on the field. Six foot
seven of him, studying theology. A
former London Irish under 18 's man.
Looks like Will Briggs is down
injured again. Will Thornton... Rob
Talotti is coming off.
Ready to play
on? Come on then.
Will Briggs is
fine to carry on. His seventh
He is an alumnus from
Rob Carling's old school. He got
into Durham, he got into Cambridge.
I don't think you'll get an ordinary
Hello, welcome if
you're watching. -- Will Carling. I
remember watching Gavin Hastings's
run a touch in a later match.
Pressure on the Cambridge scrum
here. A few replacements on.
Cambridge in bits and pieces here.
Oxford going at an angle. The
referee says, we'll reset.
referee, I don't blame them, he's
not on this side, but the assistant
referee who is should surely be able
to see the scrummaging angle. Of
Kieran Ball. Who has moved from
loose too tight. He's come across
this side. It should be obvious now.
It's not straight.
Let's walk it
over, walk it over, boys, says
Kieran Ball. That is the plan. They
want to be strike against the head
here. A Cambridge ball. The referee
Christophe Ridley keeping a close
eye on things this side of the scrum
Cambridge come away with Buchan
Richardson again. Shrugs off the
tackle first of all of Saull. Again,
Cambridge, this time through Henry
Rose. The Oxford defence smothering
this Cambridge side. Not letting
them away from their own 15 metres.
Up it goes from Chris Bell.
Galloping forward. Edgerley takes
it. Penalty to Oxford. A decision to
be made here. 18 minutes to go.
Feels the forwards have the edge.
Ed Elvin looks like he's down
injured at the moment. The Oxford
hooker. News on that injury to Matt
Is still in the medical room
at the moment but we understand he
is now conscious, his parents are
with him. They are going to reassess
him in ten to 15 minutes to decide
if he needs to go to hospital. Heavy
concussion he is suffering from at
Heavy concussion, a
nasty knock-on the side of the head
for Matt Watson. Oxford with a real
chance. Will Wilson carries it in
himself. Eight metres out. Oxford
come again. Kearns gives it to
Saull. Closer still, Oxford ten
points behind. Can they had back?
Kieran Ball. The tight head prop
does his bit. Kershaw get it on.
Driving forward, two metres short.
Slows down for a moment. Cambridge
defence quick out-of-the-box. It's
there now for Oxford once again.
They go no further. Will Briggs with
the good defence. Oxford know they
have to score soon. Hugo McPherson
carries. Now for Oxford. Pozniak.
His bit. Kearns stretches. Still an
Oxford ball. Wired it goes. Moor.
Tries to shuffle his way over. A
metre short. The ball is still there
for the Oxford forwards. A try is
given. Oxford hit back on the 11th
phase, they've got their first try
of the match. Game on here at
Twickenham. The man coming up with
it is Will Wilson. Fitting he's been
so busy, so impressive in this game.
He had the first try for the dark
Good patients from Oxford.
Very easy to panic when you see the
line. The wrong options. Cambridge's
defence holding for a while. In the
end, the simple weight of numbers.
Good power to take that over. We get
the feeling that
of the two sides
Cambridge are slightly wilting.
We'll see what happens from the
resulting kick-off. They can't
afford to play too much more rugby
in their own 22.
Three points in it.
15 minutes and a little bit more to
go. After the trial from Will
Wilson. -- the try from Will Wilson.
Poor old Chris Bell, the Cambridge
scrum-half, trying to stop Will
Wilson, it's no mean feat. Just
three points in it. Changes being
made for Oxford. I think Alex Hogg
is on in the wing for Ed David.
There is Kieran Ball again. There is
Alex Hogg. The kick. Hennessy gives
it to Ollie Phillips. Taken down by
MacPherson. Rose took Coster. --
Rose to Koster. The ball loose. A
knock-on from Oxford. Cambridge ball
at the scrum.
lucky, the option was to put the
ball wide. You see the knock-on.
Alex Hogg fresh on the field,
another former Harlequins Academy
player. Big unit, plays for the
backs, but six foot four and
powerful as well.
Solid scrum that time. Phillips.
Across the Ollie Phillips to run
onto. It beats him and Sam Edgerley.
They have a little stare off. Ball
Just too far. The option
was on. You can see how much room
there was. Cambridge 3-point lead,
the forwards need to dig deep. Still
enough time for Oxford, they do need
to panic. They played the better
rugby in the second half.
line-out stats for Oxford, perfect
record so far. That one comes down
through MacPherson, then a knock-on.
A close game last year when
Cambridge ended bad run of six
successive wins for Oxford.
Promising to be equally close this
year. There have been 14 draws in
the long history of this fixture.
Certainly wouldn't rule that out
Again, bit of a mess at the scrum.
The angles. Penalty straight to
ground, says the referee. Penalty to
Kieran Ball doesn't like
it. But the referee looked properly
at his scrummaging position, it
would be every time.
Good touch play
from Charlie Amesbury. Almost right
on the five metre line for this
line-out for Andrew Brenner at.
chance for Cambridge if they can
drive over here.
Burnett. He was
with Wasps as a youngster. Find his
man again. Cambridge trying to
adjust. Held at the back by Jonathan
Dixon, everybody coming in. Phillips
is there. Cambridge Rolling and
rumbling towards the line, over they
go, just have to get it down. The
try is given. There it is. Just over
ten minutes to go. Another try the
Cambridge. A forward effort, team
effort, the backs pouring in as
well. The man to come up with the
ball, fittingly, is Charlie
Tremendous effort by
Cambridge. Got to get the basic try.
They did. That is well set up. All
isolated at the back. They keep it
straight. -- ball isolated at the
back. Can't get anywhere near the
carrying man. So many times you see
packs start the drive forward before
the base is there, before the ball
is properly isolated. Cambridge
didn't do that and got the reward.
That was social innovation from
Charlie Amesbury. Again, one of the
players with professional
experience. The Newcastle, Sale,
Bristol, his try against Mike
Phillips, the conversion attempt. A
good chase by Sam Edgerley. Chasing
down one of the best kicks of the
day from Mike Phillips. Cambridge
hit 20 points.
Properly funded. Good
spread of players in front.
Ollie Phillips is. So he has stepped
off the rugby pitch for the final
time. Cambridge now from deep inside
their own 22. With that ten point
advantage heading into the final
Bell finds Will Wilson. Wilson into
Rory Triniman, who is on the field.
He scored the winning try last year.
And there is Kieran Ball again.
Oxford certainly haven't given up
yet, this is still salvageable. He
comes into play for scrum and gives
it onto Pozniak. Then Wilson.
Wilson, still so much energy and
strength. Hugo McPherson. Holligan
gives it deep to wall duck. Take the
tackle from Archie Russell. -- Hogg.
Noah Miller, the replacement prop.
Briggs, the loosehead prop, does
well for Cambridge. Then Henry Rose.
Again, just teased back by Bell,
scoring his first try for Cambridge.
Script that one high, not too much
distance on it. Taken well by Buchan
Richardson. Oxford trying to hold up
the Cambridge forwards, Elvin comes
away. Kearns looking for the
off-load to Kieran Ball. Is there a
way back into this for Oxford now?
Hogg. Alex Hogg goes to ground.
Edgerley. Nicely played. Still
going, losing the strike, tries to
keep it alive and does well. Still
there with Oxford. They have to
score and have to score quickly.
These bill from Hugo McPherson,
bouncing off his chest. Cambridge
have it. Russell with the clearing
kick. Moor watching it. A quick take
from the Canadian International. He
gives it back to Moor. Things
becoming just a little bit desperate
for Oxford. A spill from Ed Elvin.
An opportunity to close this out.
Henry Rose takes it in. Phillips.
Shaping the kick, then gives it to
Hennessy. Blood on the face of
Koster. Still playing. Give it to
He's a reloaded, it's
Cambridge heading towards the
final five minutes, still that ten
point lead. Phillips again gives it
deep to Russell. And on to King.
King makes his way through. Tries to
off-load. Waldouck need something
now. Had to let go of that ball, so
Cambridge come away with it. No
hurry for Cambridge, they'd like one
more score to kill it off. Taken in
by Stephen Leonard. Bell just taking
his time. Bell gives it to Hennessy.
Cambridge now closing in. Phillips.
Russell. Slips it onto Amesbury.
That body power bouncing off one and
two. Koster, lovely little pass. A
chance for Cambridge. Carried on by
Richardson. Sit it back. Bell. On
they come to Rose. Within five
metres of a try which would surely
kill off this game. Nick Koster,
blood still pouring from his face.
And Will Briggs. Again, points and
waits and goes himself. Bouncing
back, Will Wilson. Bell shouting
instructions. The forwards weight.
Richardson is there. Stripped by
wall Waldouck. Into the final four
minutes. Hugo McPherson. A little
chip from Kearns, to chase himself.
Can't get there, a spill from
Oxford are looking to move this
quickly, get this scrum set and one
final chance but time is certainly
Waldouck. Superb work.
Still leaves Oxford in a powerless
Well, a spill there will
give Oxford this scrum. I think we
have time to do Man of the Match.
Another breakdown. Who is your Man
of the Match?
The medal is named
after Cambridge fullback and England
fullback and former BBC commentator
of distinction, Allister Hignel.
Richardson has had a great game.
Carried very well. Amesbury done
well. I think overall, he hasn't
been a standout star, but what he
has done today, he has seen right
options, been solid, service has
been good, box kicking has been
great, my medal Man of the Match is
Chris Bell from Emanuel College,
Scored the first try,
Chris Bell and takes the medal. This
was that try. Great work by the
forwards. Yeah, he has been
orchestrating, pulling the strings,
keeping Cambridge going forward. He
will receive that medal from Higgie
I am sure.
Scored that try but not
necessarily the flashiest people and
players who make the greatest
contributions and he's been a
pivotal link with forwards and
backs. And taking the right option.
A word for Olly Phillips, stands
watching and hoping that Cambridge
will see this out because it's the
end of his professional rugby
career. His rugby career. Changes on
both sides again.
Oxford need something here. The
scrum is messy. Has to be now for
them. Space out there for Moor.
Gives it on. Stileman. Crashing into
Cambridge bodies. Only three minutes
Hogg again. It's deep to Waldouck.
Clinging on to that ball.
Still Oxford. A tap forward from
Stileman on the wing. That's surely
the last chance for Oxford.
Celebrations and back slaps already
for Cambridge. We head into the
final two minutes. That 10-point
difference. Another man injured on
the far side.
Give credit to the
Cambridge forwards, because 20
minutes out they were looking as
though they were fading, under a lot
of pressure. But managed to rouse
themselves, down the other side and
scored, set up the driving maul try
and they're finishing the stronger
because they know they're going to
win. Of course that psychologically
gives you the extra edge to carry
on. Might not had been that way had
they not managed to dig deep into
reserves of energy and hold
themselves back. Credit to them.
Looks like John Dixon down injured.
Can't quite see. Again lengthy
treatment. Andrew Burnett waiting. I
am sure it's heading the way of
Cambridge and they're ready to
celebrate. Olly Phillips thinks so,
congrate lating Hunter. --
You have to
say the Cambridge back row, Watson,
Leonard and Richardson, have done
tremendously well against what on
paper was fancied as the more senior
and talented, certainly more
experienced, back row of Wilson and
Saull and Talotti. Tremendous in
both attack and defence.
Andrew Burnett posse. It's a flesh
wound for dixon. He will be ready to
celebrate in a couple of minutes.
Cambridge are surely heading for
victory here. Entirely new front row
now for Cambridge. Troughton on.
Huppatz as well. Andrew Hunter has
had to go back on.
Dixon has come
off. Cambridge tight head. Front row
people are strange, but the memory
he will take from this game forever.
You won't have seen anything. He
will have just felt him powering
forward towards the Oxford line
which created the first Cambridge
Oxford complaining that Cambridge
are wasting time now. But the
referee is all over it.
Doesn't look like it's
going to be a Varsity match win for
Down it goes. Referee's decision is
play on. Richardson, he has been
impressive, as well, number eight
for Cambridge. Cambridge now just
looking to close this out.
Replacement front row has carried
on. Will Dean doing his bit.
And not sure the backs are going to
see this ball for Cambridge.
Into the final minute.
Oxford desperately trying to strip
Still there for Cambridge. And for
Oxford trying to counter-ruck.
Once again it's Richardson. Carries
for Cambridge. Bell with a long and
leisurely point, eating up the
And there's nothing that Oxford can
do here but tackle and wait and they
know that they're going to be on the
losing end of things here.
The crowd are counting down the
clock. Victory coming for Cambridge.
It's going to be two in a row here
for the light blues. They know the
clock is red. The question is asked.
A little bit of of a spill there.
Not yet! Hang on.
Cambridge still to secure the ball.
It doesn't matter. The game is over.
The game is won by Cambridge. Head
in hands for Oxford. Bright smiles
for Cambridge. Man of the Match
Chris Bell. It's a light blue
victory again. After six defeats in
a row. It's now two wins in a row
for Cambridge. Richly deserved here
at twinning nal.
It was an enjoyable
-- twinning nal. It was an enjoy --
Twickenham. It was an enjoyable
game. They took chances when they
came. They scrambled well in
Cambridge take it 20-10.
Different emotions on both sides.
Despair for Oxford. Elation for
Cambridge. A British Lion, Welsh
international many times over, but
as a fan, Jamie, you loved that.
Absolutely delighted. Fantastic game
of rugby. Both sides contributed
hugely. The intensity shown for the
full 80 minutes by both teams was
pretty special. The contrast of
emotions at the final whistle is
hard to watch sometimes. You see the
despair on faces of the Oxford
players. This is their Cup final.
This is the match they've been
building to all season. To lose it
is obviously desperately
disappointing for them. But for the
light blues, the Cambridge lads,
they'll be delighted and I am sure
they've a big night coming.
balance, probably the right result?
Yeah, I think so. We talked about
Oxford trying to force things at
half-time. I thought they were going
to come back into it, they were
trying to force final passes and
Cambridge held their defence very
well. The Cambridge back row was
absolutely outstanding today. And
thoroughly deserved that victory.
good advert for the game.
It is. For
a lot of players maybe who aren't
going to make the professional ranks
who are bright enough to get into
either of these universities, it's a
wonderful opportunity. We were
talking off air about people you
meet and wonderful opportunities and
occasion and investment in life this
We are going to hear from the
Man of the Match.
I am delighted to say I am with the
Man of the Match, Chris Bell. Six
years was the wait until finally you
managed to break the Oxford
domination. Two at once, how does it
Awesome. We talked last year a
lot about new breed of players, it
shone through last year and we
carried it through. Worked really
Just explain to us
how big the celebrations are going
to be in Cambridge tonight with the
women winning as well.
Yeah, we will
have a few beers I would imagine. We
will definitely enjoy ourselves.
It's been a long four months or so.
Yeah, it will be good fun.
Congratulations, you are the player
of the match and will be presented
now with the Allister Hignell medal
by Allister himself. Great to see
Higgie as we all know him there
presenting the Man of the Match
award. In his honour. From one
outstanding player on the field of
play to Olly Phillips whose rugby
career, distinguished career, ended
this afternoon at Twickenham with
victory in the Varsity match, not a
bad way to go out.
Exactly how I hoped it would go.
Tighter than perhaps I wanted. But
the guys are phenomenal, came with a
game plan and it's wonderful to sign
off these old legs.
World player of
the year 2009, and your career,
where does today and the experience
of today sit in the pecking order of
what you have achieved in 18 years?
It's right up there. It's one of the
most special moments, everything
that, it's the reason I started
playing this game in the first
place, typifies everything that's
special about amateur rugby and
rugby. All the traditions, history
behind it, it's Absolutely Fabulous
to be part of it.
You have obviously
lived the build-up to this match
with all these guys, what will it
mean to them because this is the be
all and end all.
This is everything
that matters. The whole year, the
season is geared to this. You could
lose every game, as long as you win
the Varsity match doesn't matter.
The rivalry is fierce, it's an
incredible feeling. It's special.
Was there a moment you thought you
were going to score a try, you were
crying for the pass and when you
didn't get it I thought there was
old man berating of the youngster
There's been a lot of
that full stop for the whole year! I
mean, didn't get a huge amount of
ball but delighted to be on the
field. Pretending like I know what I
You better run now,
because the presentation is
Thank you very much.
will follow you there.
Congratulations. Olly Phillips,
whose career ends on a victorious
note here. You do know what this is
like, dam yen, when the victorious
players go to get medals.
a binary outcome. Those on the
losing side knows this will stay you
with for the rest of your life. It's
an emotion and feeling you share
with all 23 of the players, coaches,
families and as we see Jono there
handing out the awards, it's just
such a special occasion. You live,
breathe, eat, drink, drink a lot
with these guys, as the term goes
on, it's a wonderful emotion to
share on a victory.
Thank you srep
for being with us, Jamie. Good luck
with Harlequins against Ulster at
the weekend. Dam yen, thank you very
much. Boss man of the players' union
here, it's not just about the top
level of the game. It's about
matches like this that gives Rugby
Union its unique texture and this
has been a tremendous occasion for
everybody involved here at
Twickenham today. But especially,
obviously, for the players in light
blue. The women's team as well
earlier today making it a double for
Cambridge University. We are just
waiting anxiously for the Cambridge
captain to be given the trophy. What
an outstanding match he had as well
for all the games that he played for
Newcastle and for Bristol and dare I
say for Esher in days gone by. It's
a fantastic moment for him, he had a
brilliant match today at fullback.
Really leading by example.
He will be receiving the Rhino
Assuming somebody can find it from
somewhere! There is the trophy.
All those lectures that were somehow
or other missed over the last few
weeks have been worthwhile for that
moment for the players in light blue
and Cambridge University are the
winners of the 136th Varsity match.
That's it from our rugby coverage on
BBC television live at least so far
in 2017. We will return in February,
on February 3rd for the opening day
of the Six Nations championship at
the Principality Stadium in Wales
and Scotland. Then for France
against Ireland. That's a fantastic
weekend. From all of us here, enjoy
Christmas and we will see you in
2018. That's it from Twickenham.
It's a blue day at Twickenham.
John Inverdale presents live coverage of the 136th Varsity men's match between Cambridge and Oxford from Twickenham.
Cambridge ended a run of six straight defeats in the Varsity match to beat Oxford in thrilling fashionin 2016, with Rory Triniman's late try sealing a 23-18 win for the Light Blues.
They now lead Oxford by 62 wins to 59 but who will come out on top in the battle of the Blues this year?
With commentary by Andrew Cotter. Studio guests include Wales centre Jamie Roberts, who played for Cambridge in the 2015 Varsity match.