Cambridge Men’s Blues 15-10 Oxford Men’s Blues
Joy for Cambridge after Benson's tryIzzy Poles

Jamie Benson was talismanic for Cambridge as the Rugby Blues put in an excellent defensive performance to beat Oxford in this year’s Varsity match.

Oxford started the match on top, but Cambridge absorbed Dark Blue pressure well. Once they regained possession, they won a penalty after an Oxford forward was judged to be off his feet at a breakdown. This penalty was kicked over the posts with aplomb by Benson. First blood to Cambridge.

However, Oxford responded quickly. From the kickoff, Cambridge’s backs were charged down and Oxford took possession deep into the Cambridge half. They pulled the Cambridge defence around and eventually won a penalty of their own. The penalty was duly converted, the scores made even and it was back to square one. The momentum had swung back to Oxford though. Surprisingly, the far heavier Cambridge pack collapsed at a scrum, which gave Oxford a penalty and a chance to attack. The Dark Blues took advantage of this and were only stopped from scoring a try of their own midway through the first half by a knock-on.

This mistake was punished by Cambridge. Benson cleverly delayed his pass inside to Max Loveridge, who found his teammate again. The Harlequins and England fly-half ran it under the posts to score the game’s first try, before converting the try himself.

Such Cambridge brilliance gave way to Oxford excellence shortly afterwards. The Dark Blues’ left winger Tom Mewes popped up on the right and slalomed through the Cambridge defence to score a try, which was converted by Vasco Faria. It could have got worse for Cambridge before halftime, as Oxford missed a kick after a penalty. The Light Blues were therefore slightly fortunate that the sides went into halftime level, at 10-10.


Mountain View

Town no match for Gown

Resilient defence from Cambridge at the end of the first half turned into liquid attack at the start of the second half. Benson squeezed through two defenders and drove powerfully over the line, dragging with him an Oxford player who had grabbed his shorts. His attempted conversion failed, which proved that, despite being the best player on the pitch by some way, he was still human.

Cambridge spent the much of the rest of the match defending for their lives, coping admirably when prop Danny Collins was sinbinned just minutes after being subbed on. They did attack at points, and had a potential try ruled out on TMO (a video refereeing system) after an Oxford foot lodged itself underneath the ball after Cambridge drove for the line. The opportunity to extend their lead further also came when Benson kicked a penalty which bounced off both posts and landed in the Oxford 22. These near misses were ultimately not decisive, and Cambridge ran out as the winners at Twickenham.

Varsity Player Of The Match: Jamie Benson (Cambridge)