Cambridge are hoping their whirlwind form in the build up to the 30th anniversary Women’s Varsity Match can blow Oxford away as they seek to hold onto the title they won at Twickenham last year (11.30am kick-off).
Kate Marks side warmed-up for their trip to the home of English rugby with a 14 try rout of East Anglia University last week in an 84-5 triumph to take they are average per game this season to 47 points and seven tries.
But Marks is well aware of what happened two years ago, when Cambridge went in as racing certainties only to be beaten 3-0 by a single penalty from the boot of Oxford skipper Catherine Wilcock.
“We’ve had a pretty good season so far and we’re going into the Varsity Match on the back of seven straight wins in our BUCS league. We are a division below the Premiership, where Oxford play, so we’ve got to be careful and make sure we don’t get complacent,” said Marks.
“It’s difficult to scale the results between the two sides, but it has been nice to have a taste of victory and now we know what we want at Twickenham. Those matches has been massive for us and we’re building nicely with those victories in the bank.
“Oxford will be more battle-hardened, for sure. That’s why we have to make we don’t rest on our laurels. We’ve been working hard to ensure we’re punching above our weight in our league.”
Marks’ opposite number, Oxford’s Aussie skipper Abby D’Cruz, finally got a taste of victory last week in their final fixture before Twickenham when they beat at Invitation XV 39-0 at Iffley Road. Prior to that they had lost all seven BUCS Premier league matches.
“We have that belief and we know what we can do. The win last week helped to confirm to us that what we have in our minds can become a reality,” said D’Cruz.
“We have been more competitive than ever in our BUCS league and the standard in our league has also increased year on year. We should have beaten Swansea University and while results haven’t gone our way, we know we’ve been playing against some of the best university teams in the country.
“We have taken a lot from that and we have learned along the way. After last year’s defeat we felt had a lot more to give than we did – that won’t be happening this year.”
Tickets are still available on the door at Twickenham Stadium for the 30th anniversary of the Women’s Varsity Match and 137th Men’s Varsity Match from £25 adults, £15 students and £10 juniors (The Women’s Varsity Match 2018: Kick-off 11.30am | The Men’s Varsity Match 2018: Kick-off 3.00pm).
UK residents can watch both matches on the BBC – Women’s Varsity Match BBC Red Button from 11.30am and Men’s Varsity Match on BBC 2 from 2.45pm.
15. Connie Hurton (QEGS, Penrith / Pembroke)
14. Harriet Wigginton (Cockermouth School / Brasenose)
13. Sophie Trott * (Sheldon School / Wadham)
12. Abby D’Cruz * (Como Secondary School, Perth / Keble, captain)
11. Helen Potts * (Bolton School / New)
10. Fiona Kennedy (Kingston GS / St Hilda’s)
9. Georgia Ling (Charters School / St John’s)
1. Hazel Ellender * (King Edward VI GS / Pembroke)
2. Anna Bidgood * (Sedbergh / University)
3. Syndey Sopher (Cheltenham Ladies College / Jesus)
4. Shekinah Opara (Tolworth Girls School / Keble)
5. Katie Collis * (City of London Freemen’s School / Lincoln)
6. Maria Bernier (Villa Maria HS, Montreal / Regent’s Park)
7. Honor Murison (Oundle / Worcester)
8. Hannah Cooper * (Bolton School / Worcester)
16. Gwen Cartwright * (Stanwell School / New)
17. Susannah Rees * (Tiffin / Keble)
18. Zoe Durbin (The Perse School / Lady Margaret Hall)
19. Desiree Vodounon (Groton School, New York / Hertford)
20. Joanna Male (Monkton Combe / St Edmund Hall)
21. Megan Wellens (Christ Church)
22. Megan Carter (Invicta GS / Lincoln)
23. Laura Simpson (Sponne School / St Edmund Hall)
15. Lara Gibson* (Streatham & Clapham HS / Lucy Cavendish)
14. Sophie Farrant* (Colchester RGS / Emmanuel)
13. Bluebell Nicholls* (Varndean College / King’s)
12. Mary Coleman* (Simon Langton GS for Boys / King’s)
11. Amelia Miller (Lady Eleanor Holles School / Downing)
10. Lucy Gimson (St Swithuns / St Catherine’s)
9. Kate Marks* (Exeter School / Murray Edwards)
1. Jenny Orriss* (Ashmole Academy / St Catherine’s)
2. Emma Pierce* (Bournemouth School for Girls / St Catherine’s)
3. Samantha Chan* (Cardiff Sixth Form College / Churchill)
4. Alice Elgar* (South Wilts GS / Girton)
5. Jacqueline Bramley (Dame Alice Owen’s / Girton)
6. Jenni Shuttleworth (Olchfa Sixth Form / Churchill)
7. Fiona Shuttleworth* (Olchfa Sixth Form / Pembroke)
8. Emily Pratt* (Keswick School / Emmanuel)
16. Jessica Abele (Schickhardt Gymnasium Herrenberg / Girton)
17. Sophie Taylor (St John’s, Marlborough / Homerton)
18. Charlotte Spruzen* (Beaconsfield HS / Queens’)
19. Joa Hoshizaki (Elmwood School / Churchill)
20. Elisha Clark (South Holderness Technology College/St John’s)
21. Sydney Bradshaw (Hillfield Strathallan College / Wolfson)
22. Maxine Meju (Lancaster Girls’ GS / Fitzwilliam)
23. Tabitha Brough (Oxford HS / Queens’)
* Denotes Blue
Women’s Varsity Match Officials 2018
Referee: Nikki O’Donnell (RFU)
AR1: Nia Parsonage (RFU)
AR2: Niamh Hennessy (RFU)
TMO: Keith Lewis (RFU)
No.4/Res Ref: Harry Walbaum (RFU)
No 5: Craig Maxwell-Keys (RFU)
Time Keeper: John Burtenshaw (RFU)