Men’s Varsity Match: Coaches’ Verdict

12 Dec 2018

The Varsity Match is always a nerve-racking experience for the players and fans, but also for the coaches.

In the men’s Varsity Match, Cambridge’s James Shanahan had tasted success in the past two years, but Oxford’s James Wade had five wins in a row before that. This is what they thought of their team’s efforts.


“That was a bit better than the last two years, in fact it wasn’t bad! It’s nice to be on the end of a win for once and that makes it six out of eight for me.

“Most of this group hadn’t experienced a win and so we were starting afresh this year. Our quality shone through, we played well and some of our play in the outside channels was simply outstanding.

“We had a lad who played hooker for 70 minutes who has never played there before in his life. To lose your main ball carried at hooker in the first 20 minutes was a blow and made it tough going for us.

“All year the squad has worked on solving problems and they did that today. Ben Ransom was exceptional, but when you look back at the game, and you see how many tackles and carries Sam Miller made, he was outstanding too.

“We knew Cambridge would have a good box-kicking game and they did. But once we dealt with it we controlled the game.”


“We spoke about the fact that if we played our best and still got beaten then we could deal with it. I don’t think we played to our best.

“We made a lot of individual errors, which was disappointing. The better team won and Oxford had more fire power out wide.

“Their post-graduate players, like Ben Ransom, made a huge difference. He had an outstanding game and players like him were the difference and led to it unfortunately being a big scoreline.

“The tries either side of half-time came from our mistakes and they were massive. I’m still very proud of the boys and they have worked extremely hard for the whole year.

“They are gutted, but we were beaten by the better team. I’m not angry or frustrated, just disappointed for them because we could have played better. We’ve just got to take it on the chin and come back next year.”

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.