Blues prop, Lewis Anderson, is on the brink of Oxbridge rugby history. Should Oxford win at Twickenham in the 133rd Varsity match against Cambridge, Anderson will become the most decorated rugby Blue of all time with five wins in five appearances. With the Dark Blues on track to break an Oxford record of five consecutive Varsity Match victories, Anderson has been selected to start the match at Twickenham on 11th December.
But speaking to OURFC.org ahead of the match, the Trinity College student claimed that Oxford’s achievement of five wins in a row would mean more to him than his own personal triumph. “I’ve thought more about the team-level statistics,” explained Anderson, “that Cambridge have won five in a row on three occasions while Oxford never have. I’m excited about my own record, it’s a great opportunity. In the end though, no one player makes that much difference – it means more that a club, collectively, is able to consistently build a winning team.”
The 24 year-old is a perfect role-model for other students, after being ever-present in the Dark Blues squad for the past five seasons, as well as completing a degree in Classics, two Masters and now studying towards a DPhil in Sociology. Once again Anderson was humble in acknowledging his achievements to date. “I’ve been tremendously lucky to have had the opportunities to pursue all the things I have done and the attributes to have a good crack at them” he admits. “With regard to the rugby specifically, I’ve been even luckier to play in four teams which were each very special in their own way and contained some superb players.”
17 of Oxford’s 2013 Varsity winning squad still remain an important part of this season’s team. The continuity in the side has helped Blues maintain their solid team performances in preparation for this year’s Twickenham showdown. Anderson, who returned to the Blues side in their 33-21 loss away to Esher on Sunday afternoon, spoke about a special atmosphere amongst the Oxford team that has encouraged him to perform at his best. “The squad has become a second family,” remarked Anderson. “That feeling of being embedded within an extremely close-knit group which constantly supports you and challenges you to be your best – not just at rugby – is a rare thing and actually quite addictive. There’s a sense of community and face-to-face accountability which I think is increasingly lost from modern life.”
The 133rd Varsity match is now less than one week away and, although Anderson has played at Twickenham four times now, he insists that it is still an incredible privilege to play at the home of English rugby. “I get the same chills that I did when I first went there aged ten to watch England play,” said Anderson, “it’s also an enormous source of motivation. I’d be ashamed to take the field there knowing I hadn’t done everything I can to be the best player I can be.”
With Anderson’s experience on the side, Oxford will be hoping for a composed performance on the 11th to continue their winning run. Kick-off at Twickenham is at 14:30 with the U21s starting earlier at 11:30. You can buy tickets for the showdown via http://www.thevarsitymatch.com/.
OURFC Press Officer – David Lewis