Ollie Phillips selected by Cambridge University to face Oxford in the 136th Varsity Match
And history beckons for Will Briggs
Former England sevens captain Ollie Phillips has been named in Cambridge University’s starting line-up to face Oxford in the Varsity Match at Twickenham on Thursday, December 7 (kick off 3pm).
The 35-year-old former World International Sevens player of the year, in 2009, will line up on the wing for the Light Blues after missing out on last year’s game through injury.
He will be joined by seven Blues in the starting team for Cambridge, with a further one on the bench.
And Will Briggs will make Varsity Match history by earning his seventh Blue, having joined fellow Cambridge player Herbert Fuller (1879 to 1883) and Oxford’s Lewis Anderson (2009 to 2015) on six last year.
Fellow Blues in the team for Cambridge are Jonny Dixon, Andy Burnett, Andrew Hunter, Mike Phillips, Henry King and captain Charlie Amesbury, with last year’s matchwinner Rory Triniman on the bench.
“Progress for the Varsity Match has gone very well. We’ve had some injuries which have meant we’ve gone to some dark places, but I think it’s tested the depth of our squad,” said Amesbury.
“We’re putting in some good performances at the moment, which means excitement is building ahead of the big game at Twickenham. There is a bit of tension ahead of the game, but it’s a positive tension.
“We’re building well and we’re fully focused on the mission – which is to try and win the Varsity Match for the second successive year.”
There is an all-Scottish centre pairing of Archie Russell and Jake Hennessey, while fellow Celt Buchan Richardson is at No 8.
Matt Watson and Chris Bell make the step up from the LX Club, Stephen Leonard is at No 7 after missing last year through injury, while ex-Bristol professional Nick Koster completes the pack as Cambridge bid to repeat last year’s success, when they won 23-18.
Oxford skipper Conor Kearns has named six Blues in the starting line-up, which includes a number of players with experience from the professional game.
Current Canadian international Dan Moor is at centre, England sevens international Sam Edgerley is at full-back and former England Saxons and Saracen Andy Saull is in the back row, alongside Italy under-20 cap Rob Talotti.
And current Newcastle Falcons centre Dom Waldouck is on the bench after injury restricted him to just one appearance this term.
Tickets are on sale for the match at www.thevarsitymatch.com.
Cambridge: Charlie Amesbury * (Queens’, captain); Ollie Phillips (Queens’), Jake Hennessey (Trinity), Archie Russell (St Edmund’s), Henry King * (St Catherine’s); Mike Phillips * (Emmanuel), Chris Bell (Girton); William Briggs * (Magdalene), Andrew Burnett * (Jesus), Jonathan Dixon * (Downing), Andrew Hunter * (St Edmund’s), Nick Koster (Queens’), Matt Watson (Corpus Christi), Stephen Leonard (Emmanuel), Buchan Richardson (Selwyn)
Replacements: Miles Huppatz (Downing), Will Dean (St John’s), Sam Troughton (Robinson), Henry Rose (Jesus), Tyler Hammond (Queens’), James Elms (Magdalene), George Griffiths (St John’s), Rory Triniman * (Hughes Hall).
Oxford: Sam Edgerley (St Catherine’s); Ed David * (St Hilda’s), Dan Moor # (Christ Church), Sam Moorby (Queen’s), Tom Stileman * (St Peter’s); Conor Kearns * (Jesus, captain), Tom Kershaw * (Worcester); John Aaron Henry (Somerville), Ed Elvin (St Hugh’s), Kieran Ball * (Trinity), Lisiate Fifita (St Edmund Hall), Charlie Pozniak (St Benet’s Hall), Rob Talotti (St Peter’s), Andy Saull (Kellogg), Will Wilson * (Keble).
Replacements: Will Thornton * (Lady Margaret Hall), Noah Miller (St Peter’s), Ben Parker (Brasenose), Hugo McPherson (Lady Margaret Hall), Ollie Adams (Lady Margaret Hall), Alex Hogg * (Keble), Dom Waldouck (Kellogg), Dan Barley (St Edmund Hall).
* denotes Blue