OURFC Enjoyed a Double Victory over the University of Queensland at a very wet Iffley Road on Monday night.
At 5 o’clock the respective 2nd XV’s of each club took to the field and the Oxford University Greyhounds repeated their victory of 2011 when they held on to win by 25 points to 19 against the Queensland University Heavies. Captain Ralph Weir and wing Alex Corry scored a try a piece, with fly-half Kit Goodfellow converting both and adding a try of his own, while centre Matt Janney kicked two penalties to complete the scoring.
At 7.15pm the Blues of Oxford took on the Maroons of Queensland, with the home side looking to reverse the 2011 result in the corresponding fixture. Fly-half George Cullen turned on the style to steer the Blues to a convincing 26-15 win to gain at least a hint of revenge after last weekend’s score line at Twickenham. The Dark Blues outside half helped himself to 21 points to light up an otherwise damp and dismal night at Iffley Road. He kicked three penalties in the first half to give his side a 9-7 interval lead, added a fourth after the break and then converted two tries in the space of two minutes.
Those two tries came when Queensland University were down to 14 men with hooker Tom Morgan in the sin-bin. The first was poached by replacement scrum half Henry de Berker as he dived under the feet of his back row at a scrum on the visitors’ line and then Cullen started and finished the second. The outside half ghosted his way over half way and raced up to the 22 before passing inside to centre Henry Lamont. He almost made the line, but when the ball was recycled Cullen was on hand to take the pass and dive over at the posts. His simple conversion hoisted the home advantage to 16 points, but Oxford were forced to hang on grimly in the final quarter after De Berker became their second player on the night to pick up a yellow card.
The Queenslanders, who arrived having been heavily beaten at Loughborough University last Wednesday, now go on to play Cambridge next week before heading home. That game will give both Varsity teams the chance to analyse their various strengths and weaknesses as the countdown to their annual showdown at Twickenham on Thursday 10th December continues.
The Queenslanders began brightly with a superb try from full back Hayden Munck as he ran into the back line and split the home centres to score a try at the posts which outside half Brendon Murray converted. That gave them a brief lead, 7-3, and Murray’s penalty six minutes into the second half did the same, 10-9. They grabbed a second try eight minutes from time when tight head prop Hamish Richardson trundled over to claim his first try in two years, but Murray missed the easy conversion. That was as good as it got for the visitors before De Berker returned for the final five minutes to steady the ship.
Dark Blues head coach James Wade will have been delighted with the power of his front five, the ball carrying of flanker Will Thomas and the direction that Cullen gave his side throughout. The wet ball didn’t allow the back line to show off many of their talents, but full back Matt Geiger was always keen to run and left wing Edward David was quick and alert when he got his hands on the ball.
Team Kieran Ball, Fergus Taylor, Ian Williams, Graeme MacGilchrist, Jonathan Marsden, Will Thomas, George Messum, Fraser Heathcote, Matthew Shorthose, George Cullen, Ed David, Henry Lamont, Henry Hughes, Tom Stileman, Matt Geiger
Subs Edward Hart (on for Fergus Taylor), James Scaife (on for Kieran Ball), Hugo Lu (on for Ian Williams), Henry de Berker (on for Matthew Shorthose), Guy Fairburn (on for George Cullen)
Scores T: George Cullen (1), Henry de Berker (1) C: George Cullen (2) P: George Cullen (4)