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 Varsity

Varsity Rugby Match 2007The 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 131 times the match has been played, Cambridge have won 61 times and Oxford 56. There have been 15 draws, the most recent being 2003 (11-11).

In 2013 Oxford beat Cambridge 33-15. Man of the Match was John Carter, who captained his side for the third successive time to victory, a record in the match's history.

Famous Blues

Over the years, more than 600 players from either Oxford or Cambridge have gained international honours.

Some famous Oxford Blues include: 

NameYear PlayedCountry
Will Johnson2009USA
Stan McKeen2008Canada
Anton Oliver2008New Zealand
Kevin Tkachuk 2001Canada
Simon Danielli2000Scotland
David Humphries 1996Ireland
Phil De Glanville 1990England
Troy Coker1988/89 Australia
Rob Egerton 1987/88 Australia
David Kirk 1987/88 New Zealand
Victor Ubogu1987England
Stuart Barnes 1981/82/83England
Simon Halliday1979/80/81 England
Varsity Rugby Match 2007

Varsity Rugby Match 2007