Charlie Amesbury elected new captain of Cambridge University RUFC
Full-back to lead the Light Blues
Charlie Amesbury has set his sights on building on the foundations laid by his predecessor after being elected captain of Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club.
The 30-year-old former England sevens international, who is studying a masters in social innovation at the Judge Business School, was chosen by his peers to succeed Daniel Dass to lead the Light Blues into the 136th Varsity Match.
Queens’ College student Amesbury decided to stand for the captaincy after Cambridge’s 23-18 win over Oxford in the Varsity Match in December, which ended a run of six successive defeats.
It was a difficult decision for Amesbury to make as while he is back in the Premiership with Bristol for the rest of this season, it will signal the end of his professional career this summer.
“It feels great [to be elected],” said Amesbury. “The most nerve-racking part of it is that you are elected by your peers.
“The fact that I had to stand with two other candidates and deliver my speech was really nerve-racking.
“To then get the final nod is really pleasing and I can’t wait to get stuck in. It never came into my head before Varsity as we had to win that and I still had a contract to run.
“It was a big decision in that sense and the more I thought about it, the more I realised it was the next step for me. If I hadn’t run, I would have regretted it.
“I am back at Bristol now trying to fight my way back into the team.
“I’m here for the rest of the season and in the meantime I will get up to the games but on the field Dassy will still be leading. In the background, I will be doing a lot.”
Amesbury had high praise for the man he succeeds, and also the club’s secretary last year.
“We look up to Dassy. He has really run a tight ship this year and he got us over the line,” said Amesbury. “Mike Phillips (the secretary) as well has been great so I will be having lots of chats as well with him.”
And the new captain is looking forward to forging a good working relationship with head coach James Shanahan and new secretary, tight-head prop Jonny Dixon.
“Shanners has brought in lots of continuity each year which is really good for the captains,” said Amesbury. “He is at the forefront of the game and at the cutting edge. He can put in a simple language what are quite technical rugby strategies to help us win the game.
“Jonny has really taken hold of the job with both hands and he is an ultra-efficient guy.”
The focus for now is on the wider squad at the club, and seeing who can make the step up for next season.
And a new academy squad of 14 players has been announced to work with coach Jack Heald.
It proved successful last year as eight players passed through the scheme on the way to winning a Blue.
“We are really looking hopefully to see if anyone from the Sixties and under-20s can put their hands up and say ‘I want to be part of the Blues squad next year’,” said Amesbury.
“They are the ones that we need to push us through to get a competitive player pool for next year.
“The academy just gives us a little bit more focus and just makes sure they are doing the right conditioning and gives them extra help with their skills.”
But the match with Spoon Anti-Assassins tonight has been postponed because of a frozen pitch.
The under-20s Varsity Match is on March 4 at 1pm at Grange Road.