Whilst Michaelmas term may feel like an age ago the pain of losing the Varsity Match still feels very raw amongst OURFC’s Men’s Blues squad. A highly winnable game, that was determined only by the smallest of margins, unfortunately went the way of the Tabs; consigning Oxford to their second successive defeat. However, whilst the Varsity match may have marked the season’s peak, it is not yet over and this Hilary term promises another strong and exciting fixture list.
The term was kicked off by the arrival of the Canadian International side (featuring current Blue and MBA student Dan Moor) who faced off against the Blues in preparation for their crucial world cup qualifier against Uruguay next Saturday. Fresh off the back on an intense training camp and boasting numerous professional players Canada lined up against the Blues for ‘definitely not a match’ which turned out to be two halves of 30 minutes.
An incredibly physical encounter was initially very even, both teams scoreless for the first 10 minutes, but it seemed the Christmas break caught up with the Blues for the rest of the first half as Canada ran in several tries. The second half was a better contest and Oxford managed two scores, coming from Tom Stileman and James Beaufils. However the arrival of Canadian reinforcements turned the tide and reasserted their dominance. As the Newcastle Falcon DTH van der Merwe ran in the final try of the day both sides could be pleased with the session’s outcome; the Canadians returned to their training facility for Ice Baths and massages whilst OURFC similarly recovered with At Thai and Park End’s finest.
The season clearly remains very much alive and kicking, with the next target for Conor Kearns’s men the Armed forces clean sweep with the Army, Navy and Air-force all to come. Waseda University from Japan are welcomed to Iffley Road and there remains more shoe-ing on the cards as the U20s take on Cambridge at Iffley road in March
Despite the loss at Twickenham this remains the strongest and most successful Oxford side in recent years and this Hilary Term offers another chance for it to enhance its legacy.