Oxford full-back Ben Ransom produced a man-of-the-match performance as the Dark Blues claimed Varsity Match glory with a 38-16 victory over Cambridge at Twickenham.
In star man Ransom and fly-half Tom Humberstone, Oxford boasted the game’s two outstanding performers as they crossed for five tries to end two years of Light Blue dominance.
A Dan Barley brace and tries from flanker Charlie Pozniak, Barley’s fellow wing Tom Stileman, and Humberstone did the damage. Humberstone was inch-perfect from the kicking tea with five conversions and a penalty, but there was no doubting it was Ransom who stood out the most. “Credit to the guys. They came out for the second half really firing and it’s been a real privilege to play with these boys,” said Ransom, who carried off the Alastair Hignell Medal as the man of the match.
“All year we’ve bought into the amateur culture and playing for the love of the game and each other. That’s what we’ve built our squad on and worked around and it’s been successful.
“It’s always a privilege to play at Twickenham. Fair play to Cambridge because they really came at us in the first 20 minutes. We had a slow start, but I think that’s credit to them.
“In the second half we built on our momentum from scoring at the back end of the first half and took it to them in the wide channels.”
Mike Phillips kicked three penalties for Cambridge and Nick Koster grabbed a late try, but it was not enough for the Light Blues and Oxford were deserved winners.
Ransom represented England at Under-16, Under-18, and Under-20 level and played for the Red Rose in the 2011 Junior World Championship final against New Zealand.
He has also represented Gallagher Premiership giants Saracens and London Irish at professional level and his Varsity display proved just how good he is.
“I’m at Oxford for an education and I’m at a point in my life where I’m looking to make a transition.
That’s why I’m studying at Oxford and by doing that I’ve got the bonus of playing in the Varsity Match,” he added.
“Studying is my focus at the moment, but I’d never say never about professional rugby if a good club or team came along. Potentially, I’d look at it again, but right now I’m focused on the next stage of my life.
“I want to get into finance and investment banking. That’s where I see myself in the next 20 or 30 years.
“Rugby has a finite career, you’re lucky if you go past 32 or 33 these days. I’m planning to try and transition that way.”
On Oxford’s Varsity success, Ransom added: “The guys played really well. Dan finished off a couple of good tries in the corner and our backs produced a good performance and controlled the game really well.
“It was a great all-round team performance and everyone played their part in the win. It was a great privilege to be involved in this squad.
“Cambridge got a couple of penalties, but we kept them out and in the second half we scored some nice tries. I’ve played in a couple of double headers at Twickenham and at professional level the game is very quick and more physical.
In the first 20 minutes here, the speed of the game was right up there. You’re never going to get the same physicality of a professional game, but the pace of it took me by surprise. I’m just thankful I played quite well and we won.
The dates for next year’s Varsity Matches has already been confirmed for Thursday 12 December 2019 at Twickenham Stadium. Ticket information will be released soon.