Battle of the Blues, past and present
Stepping onto the Twickenham pitch for the Varsity Match is the high-point of any Cambridge rugby career. As tickets go on sale for a Johnian gathering at the event on 7 December, two Johnians share their memories of battles past
Rob Andrew (1982) was a double Blue, playing both cricket and rugby for the University during his time as a Geography and Land Economy undergraduate. He featured in three Varsity matches, all of which the Light Blues won. He went on to play for several clubs and to earn 70 caps for England as fly-half.
Reflecting on his Varsity matches Rob recalls ‘It’s hard to believe how important that really was in my personal career.’ Watch this clip as Rob shares highlights from his Varsity experience:
‘You just can’t beat watching live sport.
It’s really great to take the time out to catch up with old mates’.
- Karena Vleck
Karena Vleck (née Gaye, 1986) was among the first women to play Rugby at Cambridge University, taking her place in the third-ever women’s Varsity team in 1988. In this clip she shares memories of the early days of women’s rugby, and observations of its rapid transformation:
The 2017 show-down
Can the Cambridge Men retain their title in 2017? Will the Women’s team seize back victory?
Last year the Cambridge Men ended a six-year streak of bad luck to take the Varsity Match championship.
This year they will be led by new captain Charlie Amesbury (Queens’) who started for the Light Blues in 2016 and helped them to a 23–18 victory at Twickenham. Speaking to the Cambridge News, he said of the challenge ahead, ‘I don’t know if it’s pressure (being a defending captain), but it’s a new season … I would much rather build on a win than a loss … A lot of players were first blooded in the Varsity and it’s also on them to come back and continue the process and the building. We need to continue to develop and avoid complacency and a drop in performance and make sure we’re on the metal straight away.’
The Cambridge Women fought hard in the 2016 match, but lost the title to the Dark Blues.
Lara Gibson (Lucy Cavendish) leads the women this year and will be planning a fight-back following the 3–0 defeat. On her appointment to captain, Lara told the Cambridge News, ‘It feels great [to be captain], it really is such an honour to lead this team. Now to prove to the girls they made the right choice … I want to continue the development of new players, and I want to push the standards of Blues players. I have incredible belief in this team and I want the potential that we have to be realised.’
This year’s Battle of the Blues leaves everything to play for, and the squads will need all the support they can muster…
Tickets for a Johnian gathering at the event are now available and can be booked online here. This includes a top-price match ticket, pre-lunch drinks and a sandwich lunch with wine. Join fellow Johnians for a day of epic rugby and great entertainment!