The final Men’s Blues match of season 2017/18 sees the visit of Waseda University RFC to Iffley Road on Sunday afternoon, kick-off 2.00pm, as WURFC travel to Oxford as part of their centenary celebrations.
The clubs first met on OURFC’s well remembered pioneering tour to Japan in 1952, the first by a UK sporting team to Japan post WW2. On a tour in which the Japanese national side was twice defeated by Oxford by over 50 points, the hardest game the Blues faced was against Waseda. With the scores tied at 8 all, the Oxford full back Ken Spence famously landed a last-minute drop goal from his own half to edge a narrow 11-8 victory – take note Robbie Fraser! Since then, the clubs have met and played regularly and more importantly many long- lasting friendships have been made between players and officials at both clubs. Most notably an alumnus of WURFC, Katsuhiko Oku, in 1982 became the first Japanese national to represent the Blues XV when studying at Hertford College. Ambassador Oku went on to become much-loved and critical link between the two clubs in the coming years, and following his tragic death whilst on diplomatic duty working for the UN post-war reconstruction programme in Iraq in 2003, a series of memorial games have been played in the UK and Japan involving his former clubs. Details of those games, of which today’s is the latest, will be there to see in Sunday’s match programme. Today’s game is once more contested for a trophy presented in memory of Katsu Oku by former Prime Minister Mori, Honorary President of the Japan RFU.
The relationship between the two clubs is now extremely close. WURFC most recently represented Japan in the World University Rugby Cup OURFC hosted at Iffley Rd at the time of the Rugby World Cup in 2015, and moreover have ‘taken up the baton’ in agreeing to host the successor event in Tokyo in September 2019, which we eagerly look forward to.
The Jackdaw Lane gate and Pavilion bar will be open from 12.15pm and the Iffley Road gate at 12.30pm Entry is £5 for adults, £3 for concessions.
Please note parking in the ground is strictly for permit holders only, please visit the Contact Us section of the website for alternative places to park.
15 Robbie Fraser (Corpus Christi) 14 Tom Stileman * (St Peter’s) 13 Sam Moorby * (Queen’s) 12 Alex Hogg * (Keble) 11 Dan Barley * (St Edmund Hall) 10 Conor Kearns * (Jesus) 9 Dylan McGagh (Magdalen) 1 Abhijeet Oswald (St Edmund Hall) 2 John Aaron Henry * (Somerville) 3 Ben Parker (Brasenose) 4 Hugo McPherson * (Lady Margaret Hall) 5 Joe Murphy (Lady Margaret Hall) 6 Charlie Pozniak * (St Benet’s Hall) 7 Tristan Louveaux (St Peter’s) 8 Sam Miller (St Edmund Hall)
16 Josh Navarajasegaran (Merton) 17 Vincent Tang (St Hugh’s) 18 Max Bowman (Somerville) 19 Will Garson (Lady Margaret Hall) 20 Ed Gillow (St Edmund Hall) 21 Tom Kershaw * (Worcester) 22 Seb Haddock (St Edmund Hall) 23 Ollie Quinn (Somerville) 24 Tobi Clarke (Merton)
* Denotes Blue