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Varsity Match between Cambridge University and Oxford to be switched to the spring in 2022

The Varsity Matches are set for a spring date. Picture: Keith Heppell (49195702)
The Varsity Matches are set for a spring date. Picture: Keith Heppell (49195702)

A new era awaits the Varsity Matches after plans were announced to move them to a date in the spring.

Cambridge University RUFC won the Women’s Varsity Match at the Mattioli Woods Welford Road 10 days ago and Oxford were victorious in the men’s game, with the fixtures having been postponed to the summer because of the pandemic.

But a more permanent switch is on the cards, with a preferred date of Saturday, April 2, 2022 which would include the 150th anniversary of the first men’s match.

Tim Jones, chairman of Varsity Match Company Ltd, said: "The world of work has changed significantly since the big crowds of the 1990s, as has the world of rugby.

“We wanted to reposition the Varsity Matches at a time of year, and on a day of the week, which would allow it to welcome even more alumni and fans of top-class amateur rugby.

“After in-depth research last summer, it became clear that a Saturday in the springtime was more favourable both to our core supporters and to the broader rugby communities.

“With the 2020/21 season Varsity Matches being played in July this year because of the pandemic, it also made sense to make that change for next season and we are just finalising the details with the Twickenham team.”

It is hoped that the matches will return to Twickenham, and it is subject to finalising contractual arrangements.

Cambridge University RUFC co-chairs Jess Tayenjam and Nick Koster gave their full backing to the spring date.

“Most sports play their Varsity Match in the spring, so in a way we are aligning rugby to the rest of the Oxbridge sporting world,” said Tayenjam.

“The new date will give younger and less experienced players more chance to develop throughout the season with the goal of playing at Twickenham.”

Koster said: “The Varsity Matches are historic rugby fixtures which are steeped in history and possess a fierce rivalry. We believe that the move to a Saturday in spring will give more people the chance to experience these great occasions and, in turn, help to make them even bigger and better.”

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