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Varsity Match 2022: Our guide to Cambridge University against Oxford University at Twickenham



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The Varsity Matches are back at Twickenham on Saturday, April 2. (55800034)
The Varsity Matches are back at Twickenham on Saturday, April 2. (55800034)

For the first time in three years, the Varsity Matches, presented by Jefferies, will be returning to Twickenham.

The annual games between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge last took place at England Rugby’s HQ in 2019 and, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, they were switched to Leicester Tigers’ Mattioli Woods Stadium in the summer of 2021.

The fixtures were played under adapted laws, which meant no scrums or mauls.

Cambridge won the women’s match 10-5, but Oxford claimed a 34-7 victory in the men’s showdown.

The Varsity Match has traditionally been in during midweek in the autumn, but has found its way to the spring, and it will be the first time the game has been played on a Saturday for 75 years.

When are the Varsity Matches?

Saturday, April 2, 2022.

What time are the matches?

The 35th Women’s Varsity Match kicks off at 12.30pm.

The 140th Men’s Varsity Match starts at 3.30pm.

How many matches have there been?

It is the 150th anniversary year since the inaugural Varsity Match at The Parks, Oxford in 1872, when the Dark Blues won by one goal to nil.

This will be the 140th meeting between the two universities.

The first Women’s Varsity Match was at Oxford’s Iffley Road on March 10, 1988. Cambridge captain Sophia Mirchandani (nee Pegers) and Oxford’s Heather Lawrence (nee Bunting) set up the fixture, which the Light Blues won through Pegers’ last-gasp try.

The Pegers-Bunting Trophy is now awarded to the player of the match in the women’s game.

Cambridge University RUFC won the 2021 Women's Varsity Match at Leicester Tigers. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge University RUFC won the 2021 Women's Varsity Match at Leicester Tigers. Picture: Keith Heppell

Who has won the most Varsity Matches?

Cambridge currency lead the series in the men’s match, with 64 wins to Oxford’s 61.

In the women’s match, Oxford have 21 wins to Cambridge’s 13.

Can you watch the Varsity Matches on TV?

Yes, you can.

The games are being screened live on Freesports.

Simon Ward is the commentator, and is joined by Harlequins centre Rachael Burford as the summariser for the women’s game.

Old Blue Alice Middleton and Team GB sevens player Amy Wilson-Hardy complete the panel of experts for the women’s match

For the men’s game, former England captain Phil de Glanville, RPA founder Damien Hopley and 2019 Cambridge Blue Flip van der Merwe will be providing insight.

Where can I find the Freesports channel?

According to the Freesports website, it can be found at:

  • Freeview – Channel 65
  • Sky – Channel 422
  • Virgin Media – Channel 553
  • BT – Channel 64
  • Talk Talk – Channel 64

The match is also being streamed live on Facebook, YouTube and the Varsity Match website. To find out more visit thevarsitymatches.com/where-to-watch/.

Cambridge University RUFC captains Charlie Watson and Laura Bleehen. Picture: Varsity Match Company (51432078)
Cambridge University RUFC captains Charlie Watson and Laura Bleehen. Picture: Varsity Match Company (51432078)

Who are this year’s captains?

Prop Laura Bleehen will skipper Cambridge women and winning her third rugby Blue, having won three football Blues as a goalkeeper.

Charlie Watson is captain of the Cambridge men, but is currently out injured so Stephen Leonard will be the on-field skipper for a third successive year.

Jess Abele captains Oxford women and Louis Jackson will lead the Dark Blues men.

Jamie Benson in action for Cambridge University RUFC against Steele-Bodger XV. Picture: Chris Fell
Jamie Benson in action for Cambridge University RUFC against Steele-Bodger XV. Picture: Chris Fell

Who else should you watch?

Former England fly-half Toby Flood, who made 60 appearances for the country, will be at No 10 for Cambridge, while current England under-20 stand-off Jamie Benson, who is on the books of Harlequins, will be at full-back.

Archie Smeaton, a Scotland under-20 international, wears Cambridge’s No 8 shirt.

Oxford have a number of internationals in their ranks.

Tight-head prop Eric Fry has 48 caps for the USA Eagles, lock Nick Civetta has 31 and last year’s man-of-the-match Andrew Durutalo has 22.

Hooker Alex Post has seven caps for Hong Kong.

Cambridge University RUFC women's captain Laura Bleehen. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge University RUFC women's captain Laura Bleehen. Picture: Keith Heppell

And what about in the women’s match?

Skipper Laura Bleehen earned a call-up to train with Wales last year, and is joined by 11 returning Blues, with 10 of them in the starting line-up.

Oxford captain Jess Abele has played for both Cambridge and Oxford in the Varsity Match, and will be eager to prevent the Light Blues making it five wins in a row.

The Dark Blues have five returning Blues, and Colombia international scrum-half Estefania Ramirez.

You can meet the Cambridge University and Oxford University teams for 35th Women’s Varsity Match.

And here are the Cambridge University and Oxford University sides for the 140th Men’s Varsity Match.

Can you still get tickets?

Visit the Varsity Matches website to find out more details thevarsitymatches.com/how-to-get-tickets/.

Read more:

Varsity Match 2022: Running style chimes a chord for Emily Bell in new role for Cambridge University RUFC

Varsity Match 2022: Brother and sister Charlie and Hetta are the best of Friends creating history for Cambridge University

Varsity Match 2022: Suwi Chibale brings hard edge to Cambridge University RUFC after following in father’s footsteps at Queens’ College



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