On a cold but still night at Iffley Road, Oxford overcame stern opposition from Sydney University to secure a good victory by 34 points to 24. Despite having only touched down in ten UK a little over 24 hours previously it was the Aussies who started much the brighter and opened the scoring after just 4 minutes with a penalty from second row Byron Hodge. They extended their lead with a try from impressive No 8 and Captain Tom Boiden which Hodge duly converted to give the visitors a handy 10 point lead after just 13 minutes. Oxford by now realising they were in a real contest upped their game and were rewarded with a try from replacement full-back Pietie Olivier (Keble) which was quickly followed by a second try from wing Henry Hughes (Magdalen), this one converted by former Sydney University player Jacob Taylor (Keble). With the game being played at a frenetic pace and both teams committed to attack, it was Sydney who scored next when scrum-half Jock Merriman spotted a gap and shot over from 22 metres, once again Hodge added the extras. Oxford hit back to retake the lead going into the interval when centre Ed Doe (Kellogg) took advantage of a spilled ball form the kick off to score under the posts, Taylor slotting the simple conversion to make the score at the break 19 – 17 in favour of the home team. Oxford started to dominate possession and territory after half-time but could only manage a Taylor penalty extending their lead to 5 points. The visitors then came back again with a well taken try from wing Ben Cannon, Hodge of course was on target to give the Aussies a 2 point advantage. The last 20 minutes was tough for Sydney as fatigue started to set in and a number of players suffering form cramp. As you would expect Oxford showed little mercy and ran in two more tries from hooker Nick Gardner (St Anne’s) and Taylor rubbing salt in to his former colleagues with a fie solo eff or which he converted to make the final score 34 points to 24 to the Dark Blues. The match was an excellent example of elite University rugby between two of the oldest clubs in the world. Sydney head off the play TCD in Dublin on Waywardness, while Oxford head to Esher next Monday for their final match before the 2013 Varsity Match.
Team Lewis Anderson, Nick Gardner, Hamish Macdonald, Tom Reeson-Price, Will Rowlands, James Harris, Gus Jones, John Carter, Samson Egerton, Jonathan Hudson, Sebastian Williams, Matt Janney, Edward Doe, Henry Hughes, Jacob Taylor
Subs Fraser Heathcote (on for Nick Gardner), James Wisson (on for Lewis Anderson), Michael Hannah (on for Hamish Macdonald), Graeme MacGilchrist (on for James Harris), Steven Patch (on for Will Rowlands), Michael Rickner (on for Tom Reeson-Price), Alexander Macdonald (on for Matt Janney), Matthew Shorthose (on for Jacob Taylor), Pietie Olivier (on for Jonathan Hudson)
Scores T: Nick Gardner (1), Henry Hughes (1), Edward Doe (1), Pietie Olivier (1), Jacob Taylor (1) C: Jacob Taylor (3) P: Jacob Taylor (1)