Oxford enjoyed a victorious Iffley Road send-off as they beat a Loughborough University XV 43-0 in punishing conditions on Tuesday night. The Blues bagged their first win in four matches with an imposing all-round performance in front of a packed home crowd who turned out despite the poor weather to wish the Dark Blues luck ahead of the 133rd Varsity Match next month.
Former Loughborough University captain George Messum received the man-of-the-match award for a fine performance, capped off with two first half tries. Henry Lamont, Jacob Taylor, Sam Egerton and Ed Doe completed the rout and added to Loughborough’s second half misery. An early successful penalty kick from George Cullen was followed by two powerful scrums from the Blues in the 14th and 23rd minute resulting in a brace of tries for No 8 George Messum. On both occasions Loughborough were punished as their pack were unable to deal with the strength of the Oxford scrum. Mid-way through the first-half Loughborough eventually settled and started to build pressure on the Oxford back-line who did well to prevent several Loughborough attacks. Oxford’s 15 point half-time lead could have been stretched when Henry Hughes took advantage of Loughborough’s poor passing but the winger’s kick went too long and Loughborough were let off.
After the break Blues continued to dominate; Henry Lamont extended the lead in the 42nd minute with a well-worked try, dodging the incoming challenger to score under the posts. Blues Captain Jacob Taylor added to the scores with his third try of the season. The full-backs 48th minute try was well converted by George Cullen to give Oxford a substantial 29 point advantage. Just five minutes later scrum-half Sam Egerton finished a well-worked move down the right to score his sixth try of the season. The Oxford back-line remained strong all match and denied Loughborough from scoring despite plenty of territory after flanker Fraser Heathcote was sin-binned in the 66th minute. There was just time for Ed Doe to take advantage of a Loughborough mistake to kick ahead and win the race to touch down with the last play of the match. Cullen’s simple conversion ended the contest with a significant 43-0 margin for the Dark Blues.
After the game Blues Captain Jacob Taylor seemed content with the team’s performance and victory. “We figured out quite quickly what we were up against,” said Taylor, “they were a spirited side, but we realised we had to stick to our guns and set our own standards and despite lapses at times I think we did that and the score-line showed.” The Aussie full-back also gave a special mention to the fans for their loyal support over the season. “We really appreciate both Loughborough coming down tonight and our loyal supporters coming out in the rain and cold to cheer us on in our final game at Iffley Road,” Taylor said.
Oxford face Esher away on Sunday in their final preparation game ahead of Varsity on 11th December. The Blues will want a solid performance to ensure confidence is high before the crunch game against Cambridge.
Team James Scaife, Nick Gardner, Ian Williams, Fergus Taylor, Tom Reeson Price, George Messum, Gus Jones, Fraser Heathcote, Samson Egerton, George Cullen, Henry Lamont, Alexander Macdonald, Matt Janney, Henry Hughes, Jacob Taylor
Subs James Wisson, Dean Irvine, Guy Western, Graeme MacGilchrist, Will Thomas, Henry de Berker, Edward Doe, Basil Strang
Scores T: George Messum (2), Sam Egerton (1), Jacob Taylor (1), Henry Lamont (1), Ed Doe (1) C: George Cullen (5) P: George Cullen (1)