Tuesday 3rd December sees the start of the 2019 Varsity Series as the OURFU Colleges XV head to Grange Road to take on their counterparts in the annual Colleges XV Varsity Match.
A win for Oxford will see their winning streak stretch to five in row, which would be the longest series of back to back wins since the fixtures inception in 1999, the previous being Oxford’s run from 2007 – 2010. However, the squad are under no illusions of the challenge that they face this year as the winning margin between the sides has been getting smaller year on year.
Lead Coach and OURFU Rugby Development Officer Joe Winpenny has made some changes to his Coaching Team for the 2019 process due to Colleges XV ‘stalwart’ Mike Williams being unavailable due to work commitments. The additions is include Simon Brown, Former Head of Rugby at Rugby School and two coaches from the local community game in Phil Peirsegaele and a second Simon Brown! Joe said ‘we have missed Mike Williams experience this campaign, but saw his absence as an opportunity to provide some local coaches with an opportunity to develop and grow. Phil and the two Simon’s have added a breath of fresh air to this campaign and I hope that they will stay involved next season’
After a month together and over 70 players observed the coaching team have finalised their travelling 24 and Joe had this to say about the process and the players that have put themselves forward.
‘The process is always a challenging one as we have a very short period of time to trim the squad down to the match day 23 and embed some type of game plan. However with a number of returning players from previous years the process has been made smoother. Some of the talent on show this season has been far greater than in previous years and whilst the end goal for this group is to win in Cambridge on the 3rd December we see it as part of the pathway into the University set-up, we have had to keep development in the back of minds’.
1. Mike Chamberlain (St Edmund Hall) 2. Jonathan Morley (New) (Captain) 3. Harry Chapman (Corpus Christi) 4. Sam Carling (Keble) 5. Lewis Sutton (St Edmund Hall) 6. Eoin O’Sullivan (Oriel) 7. Cail Wyn-Evans (Jesus) 8. Eddie Gillow (St Edmund Hall) 9. Sam Monk (Kellogg) 10. Alec Bannister (St Catherine’s) 11. Russell Reid (Corpus Christi) 12. Ben Jackson (Worcester) (Vice-Captain) 13. Josh Abass (St Peter’s) 14. Ben Kibblewaite (Christ Church) 15. Oscar Marriot-Clarke (Magdalen)
16. Tom Barnes (New) 17. Isaac Pockney (Hertford) 18. Harry Lyons (Pembroke) 19. Ruairidh Beer (St Edmund Hall) 20. Ed Kilcommons (New) 21. Charlie Hewes (Magdalen) 22. Ed Russell (St John’s) 23. Brian Kwizera (St Peter’s)
Travelling Reserve: Chris Holland (Green Templeton)