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Varsity Match 2023: Cambridge University RUFC captains Ben Gompels and Emilia Bushrod react to mixed results against Oxford at Twickenham





All of the emotions attached to Varsity Matches rose to the surface for Cambridge University RUFC this afternoon.

For the men there was elation after they prevented their Oxford counterparts from triumphing in the fixture for a third year in a row. It may not have been the most eye-catching of games, but the Light Blues of Cambridge showed all of the necessary grit, determination and desire to get themselves over the winning line 15-10.

Captain Ben Gompels, who took on the role in the absence of injured former England international Toby Flood, said:

Cambridge Men’s Varsity Rugby Match against Oxford at Twickenham. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Men’s Varsity Rugby Match against Oxford at Twickenham. Picture: Keith Heppell

“From the get-go it was a hell of a battle. I wouldn’t say it was an advertisement for English rugby but we stuck in there and the boys worked really hard, especially the front five,” he said.

“They always say that attack wins games and defence wins championships. It’s not a championship but today we’ve stuck at it. Oxford kept coming and coming and I’m really proud of the guys.

“We’re incredibly lucky to run out here at Twickenham and to go to either Oxford or Cambridge. It’s been a fantastic year and to cap it off is amazing.

Cambridge Men’s Varsity Rugby Match against Oxford at Twickenham. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Men’s Varsity Rugby Match against Oxford at Twickenham. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Last year we had a lot of boys go down and we lost a lot of leaders, but coming in this year, everyone has stayed on the pitch and we hung on in there.”

Sadly, it was not the same story for the women’s side. They took a slender advantage into the break but a second-half masterclass from Oxford saw them come out comfortably on top 31-12.

It ended Cambridge’s unbeaten record in the match that dated back to 2016.

Skipper Emilia Bushrod, who scored her side’s first try, said: “You can’t take away the credit from Oxford. They were awesome in the second half.

Cambridge Women’s Varsity Rugby Match against Oxford at Twickenham. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Women’s Varsity Rugby Match against Oxford at Twickenham. Picture: Keith Heppell

“We’ve played them twice this year and they’ve beat us (both times).

“I was impressed by our first-half performance. I really think our girls went out there and showed what we’re about.

“We were out-classed in the second half and you can’t take that away from them.

“It was the details that let us down. Some kicks not making touch, kicks not going where they were meant to, but they were great.

Cambridge Women’s Varsity Rugby Match against Oxford at Twickenham. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Women’s Varsity Rugby Match against Oxford at Twickenham. Picture: Keith Heppell

“You would not believe the season we’ve had and I’m very proud of every single one out there. They played with their heart and you can’t ask for more than that.”



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