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Fiona Shuttleworth hails potential of Cambridge University RUFC squad to face Oxford in Women's Varsity Match at Twickenham

Bluebell Nicholls, left, and Fiona Shuttleworth in action for Cambridge University RUFC in last year's Varsity Match. Picture: Keith Heppell
Bluebell Nicholls, left, and Fiona Shuttleworth in action for Cambridge University RUFC in last year's Varsity Match. Picture: Keith Heppell

Fiona Shuttleworth is relishing Cambridge University RUFC unleashing their full potential in the 34th Women’s Varsity Match against Oxford at Twickenham on Thursday, December 12 (kick off 11.30am).

The Light Blues captain has named her squad to take on the Dark Blues, and it features five Blues from last year’s victorious side, who won 8-5.

Joining Fiona in the back row again is twin sister Jenni, while 2018 captain Kate Marks returns at scrum-half.

Bluebell Nicholls earns a third Blue in the centres, and the same is true of Emma Pierce at hooker.

There is a sixth Blue in the starting line-up and that is Laura Nunez-Mulder, who was on a year’s sabbatical from her medical studies last year, while Alice Elgar returns on the bench.

Former Scotland under-18 international Coreen Grant is among the newcomers in the centres.

“It’s the same challenge as every year – coming out on the day and performing. We have a brilliant squad with amazing potential,” said captain Fiona Shuttleworth.

“We want to make the game an exciting battle that highlights women’s rugby. We want to win the best way, not at all costs.

“We were winning games by 60 points in the lower BUCS League last season and being in the higher division has been very good for us. We have really stepped up.”

Cambridge and Oxford have already clashed this season, in the BUCS Premier South at Grange Road in November, and it was the Light Blues that earned a 23-5 victory.

Oxford’s team includes 10 starting Blues, with a further two returnees on the bench, and they include Pat Metcalfe-Jones, who is in the Harlequins Tyrrells Premier squad.

Cambridge University: Hannah Vandersluis (Peterhouse); Hannah Samuel (Girton), Coreen Grant (Corpus Christi), Bluebell Nicholls * (King’s), Ella Halcrow (Murray Edwards); Elisha Clark (St John’s), Kate Marks * (Newnham); Laura Bleehen (Girton), Emma Pierce * (St Catharine's), Laura Nunez-Mulder * (Emmanuel), Hilde Schneeman (Darwin), Lauren Gregory (Corpus Christi), Jenni Shuttleworth * (Churchill), Fiona Shuttleworth * ( Pembroke), Rose Scowen (Magdelene).

Replacements: Charlotte Manser (Murray Edwards), Alice Elgar * (Girton), Saffron Hicks (Selwyn), Marj Heemskerk (Trinity Hall), Cara Prowling (St John’s), Jen Atherton (Jesus), Emma McLoughlin (St John’s), Lottie Paterson (Corpus Christi).

Oxford University: Connie Hurton * (Pembroke); Clodagh Holmes (University), Abby D’Cruz * (Keble), Nina Jenkins (Keble), Helen Potts * (New); Pat Metcalfe-Jones * (Christ Church), Sile Johnson (St Hugh’s); Hazel Ellender * (St Cross), Anna Bidgood * (University), Jessica Abele * (Exeter), Katie Collis * (Lincoln), Carla Schmidt (Magdalen), Ailsa Clark (Worcester), Phoebe Haste * (Trinity), Hannah Cooper * (Lincoln).

Replacements: Ruby James (Worcester), Shekinah Opara * (Keble), Esme Haywood (Brasenose), Meryem Arik (New), Emily Cohen (Jesus), Zoe Nunn (St Catherine’s), Megan Carter * (Lincoln), Maddie Hindson (Keble).

* Denotes Blue

Read more:

Chris Bell chimes a chord as one of Cambridge University RUFC's leaders in Varsity Match build-up

Joey Gatus grows in stature in a fearsome Cambridge University RUFC back three as Varsity Match approaches

James Horwill and Flip van der Merwe to take the Cambridge University RUFC fight to Oxford in the Varsity Match at Twickenham

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