Varsity Rugby Match
Rugby has a long history at Oxford. William Webb Ellis, the founder of
the sport, was a student at Brasenose College. The Oxford University
Rugby Football Club (OURFC) was founded in 1869, fifteen months
before the foundation of the Rugby Union in 1871, and is regarded as
the oldest club in this country.
During the Varsity campaign,
the Blues compete against top quality opposition. The
highlight of the Varsity build-up is the match versus the Major
Stanley’s team. Once used as a trial for the England XV it is named
after the selector who first acquired Iffley Road for the use of OURFC.
All the games and preparations build up to what is the defining moment,
and highlight, of the season – the Varsity.
The sole focus of Oxford and Cambridge University rugby teams is to win The
MMC Trophy (originally known as the Bowring Bowl) and the title of
Varsity holders. In February 1872 the first ever Varsity match
was played in Oxford at ‘The Parks’. The following year (February 1873)
the return match was played in Cambridge on ‘Parkers Piece’. In 1877 it
was decided to move the match to a neutral ground and the
Kennington Oval - scene of England’s first home international fixture
the previous year - was chosen. The game had a number of different
venues, each offering the current best facilities. In December
1921 it was moved to the Rugby Football Union’s ground at Twickenham, where it has been played ever since.
Oxford won the first Varsity Rugby match. In the 129 times the match
has been played, Cambridge have won 61 times and Oxford 55. There have
been 14 draws, the most recent being 2003 (11-11). This year (2011) Oxford beat Cambridge 28-10.
Over the years, more than 600 players from either Oxford or Cambridge have gained international honours.
Some famous Oxford Blues include:
|Anton Oliver||2008||New Zealand|
|Kevin Tkachuk ||2001||Canada|
|David Humphries ||1996||Ireland|
|Phil De Glanville ||1990||England|
|Troy Coker||1988/89 ||Australia|
|Rob Egerton ||1987/88 ||Australia|
|David Kirk ||1987/88 ||New Zealand|
|Stuart Barnes ||1981/82/83||England|
|Simon Halliday||1979/80/81 ||England|