Varsity matches: Cambridge v Oxford
|Varsity matches: Cambridge v Oxford|
|Venue: Twickenham Date: Thursday, 7 December Kick-off: 11:30 GMT (women’s match), 15:00 GMT (men’s match)|
|Coverage: Women’s match live on BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website and app from 11:25 GMT|
|Men’s match live on BBC Two, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, BBC Radio Oxford and BBC Sport website and app from 14:45 GMT.|
Cambridge and Oxford contest the men’s and women’s Varsity matches for a third year at Twickenham on Thursday.
Both games have been played together at the Home of Rugby since 2015.
Former Bristol back Charlie Amesbury leads a Cambridge side looking to emulate their 23-18 victory last year – with Conor Kearns captaining Oxford.
Cambridge prop Will Briggs will make a record seventh appearance in the fixture while Lara Gibson and Sophie Behan lead the two women’s sides.
The Light Blues halted a run of six successive Oxford wins last year in the men’s contest, while Oxford’s women won for the first time on Twickenham soil with a narrow 3-0 victory.
Both matches will feature a number of players with professional and international experience.
Former world player of the year prepares for final game
In 2015, Cambridge called on Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Jamie Roberts for the showpiece – a move that did not pay off as he came off injured in an Oxford win.
This year the Light Blues have Ollie Phillips in their side – the former Newcastle and Stade Francais wing was named World Sevens Player of the Year in 2009.
Now 34, Thursday will not only be Phillips’ debut in the fixture, but his final rugby match before hanging up his boots.
“Last year unfortunately, due to injury, he never really was there,” head coach James Shanahan told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
“This year was always going to be a bit of an outside shot, but we got the go-ahead.
“He’s very keen, energetic, says the right things and has huge experience. I think to not have him around would be stupid.
“I had big discussions with Charlie and we’ve gone for him – we’re looking forward to what he can do on that big day.”
Dark Blues plot return to winning course
Oxford fly-half Kearns, 24, hopes a mix of previous Varsity experience and some fresh faces will provide a winning combination for his side.
Newcastle centre Dom Waldouck is among the replacements. A European Cup winner with Wasps in 2007, Waldouck has been granted 12 weeks away from the Falcons to study a sustainable urban development masters while playing for the university.
Canada international Dan Moor will start at centre, having featured for his country against Maori All Blacks in Vancouver last month. The 27-year-old is currently reading an MBA at Christ Church College.
Former Newcastle Falcons and England Saxons flanker Andy Saull is also joined by ex-Italian under-21 cap Roberto Talotti in the starting XV.
“We’re blessed to have a number of guys who’ve been around the professional game in recent years,” Kearns told BBC Radio Oxford.
“I’ve been really impressed and delighted with the way they’ve bought into the environment around the squad and they’ve been really helpful in sharing their knowledge and we’re lucky to have them involved.”
Oxford men: Edgerley; Stileman, Moor, Moorby, David; Kearns (capt), Kershaw; Henry, Elvin, Ball, Fifita, Pozniak, Talotti, Saull, Wilson.
Replacements: Thornton, Miller, Parker, McPherson, Adams, Hogg, Waldouck, Barley.
Cambridge men: Amesbury (capt); O Phillips, Russell, Hennessey, King; M Phillips, Bell; Briggs, Burnett, Dixon, Koster, Hunter, Watson, Leonard, Richardson.
Replacements: Huppatz, Dean, Troughton, Rose, Hammond, Elms, Griffiths, Triniman.