14.20 – 10 minutes until kick off
Welcome to the Oxford vs. Cambridge Varsity match liveblog! Stay with us throughout the afternoon as we keep you up to to date as the Blues attempt to make it 5 wins in a row against the Tabs. Teams coming up…
14.29 – 1 minute until kick off
Both teams have observed a minutes silence and the last post has been played in memory of the rugby players from both Oxford and Cambridge who died in the First World War in this its centenary year. Musicians from both colleges sing the national anthem. The atmosphere from the packed bottom tiers is reaching fever pitch, its almost time..
First Half – 3rd Minute
Great start by Oxford, capitalising on a poor Cambridge response to kickoff to make significant territory into the Tab’s 22. Cambridge back in possession but a bright start by Oxford’s pack. Cambridge storming forward now after a great carry by danger man fly half Fraser Gilles. Oxford win the line out though after great defence from the Blues pack
First Half – 7th Minute
Fans on both sides in full voice with Cambridge, bizarrely, led on by a group of teenagers in the bottom right corner…
Cambridge on the attack now though pushing dangerously close to Oxofrd’s try line after a fantastic maul on the left hand side. Cambridge win a penalty about 15 metres out, which they put into touch on the 5. Oxford living dangerously…
First Half – 11th Minute – TRY OXFORD!!!! – SAM EGERTON!- Oxford 7-0 Cambridge
Oxford defend the resulting line out fantastically, win the penalty and push forwards. Cambridge retain possession before a horrible knock on from the Cambridge back line gifts possession to Oxford’s main man, Scrum Half Sam Egerton who runs through 3 men to score. Conversion spot on from Sam Cullen and it’s 7-0 Oxford
15th Minute – Oxford 7-0 Cambridge
Cambridge looking shaky from the kickoff, gifting possession straight back to Oxford. Cambridge’s preteen cheerleading squad get straight back to it after seeing their team go down (they cant have that many child prodigies surely?)
17th Minute – Penalty scored by Cambridge – Oxford 7-3 Cambrige
After some sloppy defence by the Oxford pack on the 25 Cambridge win the penalty and Dan Stevens makes no mistake, firing over to make it 7-3 – but now oxford have a penalty of their own, Cullen to take…
18th Minute – PENALTY SCORED! – GEORGE CULLEN!! – Oxford 10-3 Cambridge
… and Cullen makes no mistake, firing over to restore Oxford’s lead! Cambridge hit back hard though, making quick territory and pushing Oxford back to their own 22. The Tabs are winning the pack battle at the moment, but Oxford’s back line is defending valiantly
23rd Minute – Oxford 10-3 Cambridge
Great defence Oxford! A sustained period of Cambridge pressure is relieved after a sloppy period of play sees Tab star Gilles drop the ball before Oxford win a penalty from a knock on. Oxford kick to touch, win the line out and are making serious ground in the Cambridge half after great work from winger and captain Taylor
28th Minute – Oxford 10-3 Cambridge
Oxford lose possession high in the Cambridge half but win a scum after the Cambridge pack, beginning to lose their earlier dominance, collapse a ruck. A fantastic scrum from Oxford sees them gain a huge amount of ground before a clever punt from Egerton is intercepted by Cambrgide who punt it straight back. A great take by prop Williams puts Oxford back in possession and the Blues are starting to make ground…
31st Minute – Oxford 10-3 Cambridge
As Oxford begin to assert some real dominance so do their fans, who are really beginning to make themselves heard behind the Cambridge touchline. The Cambridge scout contingent, meanwhile, are trying and failing to start a Mexican wave. I thought Rugby fans were supposed to be more civilised than this… Back to the game and Cambridge have the ball inside the Oxford half before a crunching tackle from Matt Janney puts Cambrige winner Cherezov into touch for an Oxford line out. Oxofrd win the line out and make a massive amount of ground after fantastic play by second row Fergus Taylor and Sam Egerton.
34th Minute – Penalty Scored by Cambridge – Oxford 10-6 Cambridge
However Cambridge win the ball back from a turnover inside their own half, make steady ground through their forwards and win the penalty on the left hand side. Don Stevens converts to make it 10-6 from a position where scoring was by no means a formality. Despite Oxford dominance Cambridge are 100% still in this as Oxford’s lead is cut to 4 points
38th Minute – TRY OXFORD!!! Oxford 17-6 Cambridge
Oxford roar straight back from the kickoff! Fantastic work from the Blues back line has Cambrige pinning in their 5 almost instantly. Great work from Janney and Reeson-Price making huge ground for Oxford before fantastic attritional forward play allows Alex MacDonald to battle over for Oxford’s 2nd try of the game! Cullen converts from a simple position to make it 17-6 to the Blues. Oxford finally making their dominance pay over a less than stellar Tabs side.
Half Time – Oxford 17-6 Cambridge
A brilliant defensive display from Oxford, finally given the clout it deserves by Macdonald’s try on the stroke of half time sees the Blues take a deserved lead into half time. Egerton and Janney in particular have starred for Oxford so far, as well as the Oxford pack who, after a rough first 15 minutes, have really taken control of this game. Oxford cruising, but theres a huge amount of rugby to come, the other place are certainly not out of this. Another half like that though and Oxford will take their 5th consecutive varsity win with Cambridge returning to their stinking swap with nothing.
Half time thoughts from the Oxstu’s very own rugby expert Alex Tyndall:
Tighter than the scores show, I think. Don Stevens instrumental for Cambridge but it’s incision making a difference for Oxford really. One lucky break and an excellent passage of play – but they’re way up. Cambridge need to make much, much more of their territory.
Kick off – Second Half – Oxford 17-6 Cambridge
Cambridge kick off, with Oxford quickly pushing into the tab’s half. A promising attack breaks down after a sloppy pass from Taylor gifts the ball back to Cambridge. However the game stops as a Cambridge player goes down injured. On comes the stretcher, this doesn’t look good…
42nd Minute – Oxford 17-6 Cambridge
A big round of applause as Cambridge’s Don Stevens, by far their best player so far, comes off to be replaced by John Wylde. Oxford have the scrum
45th Minute – Oxford 17-6 Cambridge
Oxford making decent progress inside the Cambridge half, pushing into their 22. However a sloppy forward pass sees Cambridge win the scrum before making huge ground after a great run by Sam Allen. The tabs win another scrum on the right hand side of the halfway line, the loss of Stevens seems to have galvanised their pack after their cowing by the end of the first half. Retaking control of the forward game is probably the other place’s best chance of getting back into this, Oxford need to be careful…
49th Minute – Oxford 17-6 Cambridge
Oxford have the ball on the Tabs’ 22 before giving away the penalty after sloppy rucking from their forward. Cambridge kick into touch just shy of the Blue’s 22 before Oxford regain possession after a horrible Cambridge line out and make huge ground after a fantastic run from Cullen. Oxford starting to turn the screw again. Oxford make a change – 14. Ed Doe goes off to be replaced by Henry Hughes.
54th Minute – TRY OXFORD!!!! TOM REESON-PRICE!!! Oxford 22-6 Cambrige
Try Oxford! After winning a penalty and kicking for touch and winning a line out on the tabs 5, great forward work from the Oxford pack gives Reeson-Price an opening and he makes no mistake, driving past 3 Cambridge players to convert. Cullen misses the conversion, but from barely 20 metres out and right on the right hand touch line, he could hardly have picked a worse position. Oxford cruising after a fantastic try after a brilliant passage of play. Oxford have been punishing Cambridge’s every mistake this afternoon and this was no exception
58th Minute – TRY OXFORD!!!! IAN WILLIAMS!!! Oxford 27-6 Cambridge
Oxford score again! After flying out of the blocks following the Cambrige kick off, Cullen narrowly missing a drop goal attempt barely a minute after the restart, Oxford have their reward. A number of Cambridge missed tackles and brilliant play from Gus Jones and Ian Williams allows Williams to drive over for Oxford’s 4th try of the game. Awful defending by Cambridge and once again Oxford capitalise. This should be Oxford home and hosed. The RFU guys on my right are talking about a 40 pointer, the guys from Cambridge on my left can’t believe what they’re watching.
60th Minute – CULLEN CONVERTS!!! – Oxford 29-6 Cambrige
After a lengthy pause after Cambridge’s George Smith goes off after what unfortunately looks like a serious injury, Cullen converts to make it 29-6 to the Blues. A huge ovation for Smith, a huge ovation for Cullen and an increasingly huge lead for Oxford. The Cambridge children’s choir below me are silent, the Oxford fans ecstatic.
66th Minute – Oxford 29-6 Cambridge
Oxford go close! With a 3 man overlap on the left hand side Taylor can’t quite get hold of Anderson’s pass to run over another try with just a couple more metres to go and Cambridge are back in possession. The tabs have made wholesale changes, bringing on a couple of players into the pack to try and claw themselves back into a game that is increasingly slipping away from them. A Cambridge line out on the Oxford 22 is robustly defended, with the Blues regaining possession after a monster tackle by Alex Macdonald on the Cambridge outside centre. Cambridge’s first sustained period of pressure this half, and the Blues looking absolutely equal to it. Oxford make a change, Matt Janney, quite possibly man of the match so far, coming off to be replaced by Basil Strang. Emma Watson will be proud of her man’s performance today
72nd Minute – Oxford 29-6 Cambrige
As we enter the last 10 minutes the tabs have Oxford pinned down on their 10 metre line but the blues are reading them all day long. Oxford have defended fantastically all day. A fantastic turnover by Nick Gardner and the tabs are back to square one with a line out on the halfway line.
75th Minute – TRY OXFORD!!! GEORGE CULLEN!!! Oxford 36-6 Cambrige
Try Oxford! A fantastic turnover from the line out and some brilliant forward play releases George Cullen who beats 3 men to run over Oxford’s 5th try of the day, and makes no mistake with the conversion. If the scores stay like this this will be the biggest margin of victory in this fixture since 1909, with Oxford now a massive 30 points off. Oxford have been majestic this half, Cambrige have been nowhere
79th Minute – TRY OXFORD!!! GUS JONES!!! Oxford 43-6 Cambridge
Scratch that, Oxford are now on course for the biggest win in the history of the Varsity match! Oxford go straight at the tabs from the kick off and fantastic hands from Egerton (the just announced official man of the match) releases Gus Jones who goes over by the corner flag for Oxford’s 6th. Cullen, lethal with the boot today, converts with aplomb. Oxford have been quite simply magical this half. This margin is well deserved and it could well have been more. Cambridge look dead on their feet.
FULL TIME!!! OXFORD WIN THE 133rd VARSITY MATCH 43-6
The final whistle goes and Oxford have won! From a tight first half to an absolute masterclass in the second Oxford absolutely overawed their Cambridge rivals who were their equals in the first but completely failed to show up in the second. Oxford take their 5th consecutive Varsity win and by the biggest margin ever recorded in the history of the fixture. George Cullen and Matt Janney were unplayable in the back line whilst Tom Reeson Price was the standout player in an almost flawless performance by the Oxford pack. However it is difficult to argue with the official man of the match award, given to San Egerton. Egerton was at the centre of everything good about Oxford today, the architect of the 2nd and 3rd tries which, in the end, put this match to bed before this match begun. Cambridge, slink up the stairs to meekly collect their runners up medals as the Cambridge fans sneak off to drown their sorrows
Full time thoughts from the Oxstu’s resident rugby expert Alex Tyndall:
The wheels came off the Cambridge bus completely in the second half. The loss of Don Stevens early on was heavy and once Oxford started scoring everything went wrong. Cambridge’s pack got frustrated, made too many errors and were overrun by a much lighter front eight. No question how much Oxford deserve the win. The Tabs were destroyed in forty horrible minutes.
Full time – OXFORD WIN 43-6!!!!
Oxford head up the stairs, led by Egerton and captain Taylor to receive the Varsity trophy and the victory could scaredy be more deserved. The Oxford fans erupt as Taylor raises the Varsity trophy for Oxford for the 5th year in a row. An unprecedented run of wins capped of by an unprecedented margin of victory. Oxford have made history today with a performance worthy of the history books.
Full time – Oxford 43-6 Cambridge
As the Oxford players leave the field victorious and the Oxford fans leave the ground to drink the pubs and clubs of Twinckenham dry we bring this liveblog to a close. Oxford were magnificent, coming back from a tight first half to destroy the Tabs in an unbelievable second half performance. 5 in a row, a record margin of victory, today could scarcely have gone better for the Oxford faithful. The Blues victorious, the Tabs utterly vanquished, its time for me to say goodbye. Thanks for joining me!