The Varsity Matches are set to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the first Oxford v Cambridge rugby game with a return to Twickenham next year. A move from the traditional timing of December means the men’s and women’s matches will now be played in the second half of the season in the Spring. The games will also be played on a Saturday – the first time the men’s match has been played at the weekend in 75 years. The switch from the traditional pre-Christmas date to the Spring has come about after widespread consultation with all stakeholders. With the Autumn calendar now filled with three England rugby tests and a Barbarians fixture at Twickenham, the move to a Saturday each year post-Six Nations is a bid to capture a new audience and to fill a less congested space.
“As the 150th Anniversary of the first Men’s Varsity Match approaches, now is the ideal time to take stock and make bold decisions about the future of the event,” said Tim Jones, Chair of the Varsity Match Company Ltd. “We feel a move to the spring will take us out of the pre-Christmas congestion of international fixtures and allow us to take advantage of the after-glow of the Six Nations. “A Saturday date means we can offer families, young professionals and even rugby newbies a chance to experience the rivalry, excitement and tradition of The Varsity Matches at an affordable price. Making the event more inclusive to all is at the heart of our plans as we look forward to the next 150 years of The Varsity Matches.”
Ticket prices for ‘early bird booking’ start at £15 for students or £20 for the general public and include admission to both fixtures. Families and rugby clubs will be able to benefit from special offers, whilst hospitality will also be available at competitive prices, meaning that there will be a ticket to cater for all needs. The Women’s Varsity Match which has been played on the same day as its male counterpart since 2015 and kick off times will be announced in due course.
The first Varsity Match was played at The Parks, Oxford, on 10 February, 1872 when Oxford won by 1 goal to 0 in a 20-a-side match. The current series stands at 64-61 in favour of Cambridge, with 14 matches drawn, while Oxford lead 21-13 in the women’s series that dates back to 1988. Oxford and Cambridge first played at Twickenham on 8 December, 1921, after switching from Queen’s Club. Oxford won on that occasion, 11-5, in a game that featured five current internationals and five future caps. The last outing at Twickenham was in 2019, when Cambridge triumphed 15-0. The next time the men’s teams meet it will be their 93rd clash at the home of English rugby and their 140th meeting in 150 years.
For further information or to buy tickets now head to https://www.eticketing.co.uk/rfu/Events?preFilter=26