Cambridge celebrate with the trophyIsaac Tan

Cambridge beat Oxford 10-6 to take victory in this year’s mixed Touch Rugby Varsity match. On an increasingly cold afternoon on Grange Road, the Blues passed the ball quickly and moved with great agility to scythe through the Oxford defence time and time again.

The match began fairly evenly, with both teams enjoying spells of possession. Midway through the half, Cambridge took control by running over a series of tries for which Oxford had no response. Key to this was the Light Blues’ excellent ball movement, as the ball was hoiked from one side of the pitch to the other, dragging Oxford here, there and everywhere. This created gaps in the Oxford line, which proved to be fertile ground for Cambridge. If their ball movement was impressive, Cambridge try-scoring was positively staggering. To those used to the flop over the line technique of Rugby Union, the sight of the Cambridge players diving for the line in the manner of a cat pouncing on a mouse was mindboggling. Oxford couldn’t respond to such prowess, playing ponderously and creating very few try-scoring chances.


Mountain View

Oxford claim deserved victory over Cambridge

Inevitably, though, the second half led to an Oxford comeback. The Dark Blues began to play more quickly, moving an increasingly disorganised Cambridge defence around. The Light Blues were not helped by the frequency of rolling substitutions, which disrupted their momentum at times, especially as they sought to exploit their pace advantage over the Oxford defense. In fact, it was the visitors who used raw pace most effectively. As Cambridge began to tire, Oxford’s Jamie Taylor burst clear and ran almost the entire length of the (shortened) pitch to score and bring his team back into the game. Minutes later, the number 14 did it again, avoiding a last-ditch attempt to touch him by Cambridge’s Adam Moogan to increase the pressure on the Light Blues.

Cambridge kept their heads though, and expert ball-handling from Moogan kept many an attack alive, before sharp finishing once again extended the Cambridge lead. Cambridge’s response knocked the wind out of Oxford’s sails, and as the game entered its final quarter, Oxford’s paucity of subs began to show. The tired defending of the men and women from the Other Place showed in a flurry of Cambridge tries, and in Oxford’s inability to create anything from their attacks.

Ultimately, Cambridge were too strong for their eternal rivals, and retained their Varsity crown in some style.