Stanton Punch Knocks Out 21s
Early sending off sees 21s slump to 53-17 defeat at Twickenham
The Under 21s suffered an humiliating defeat as Oxford ran riot at Twickenhan, winning 53-17.
Cambridge were up against it when captain Tom Stanton was given a straight red after only ten minutes for throwing a punch and they never recovered from this early set back.
Despite moments of individual briliance, including two tries from Jesus wing Rob Stevens, Cambridge were outplayed in every department.
The game began ominously with a running try for the Dark Blues in just the fifth minute, David Levein going over in the left corner.
But Stanton’s sending off, following a punch to the back of an Oxford player’s head during contact, meant that the small crowd who had arrived early to see the 21s play were in for a one-sided affair.
Against an opposition who have won 6 games in their build-up, Stanton’s moment of madness was a bitter blow. As Oxford converted the peanlty to go 8-0 up, the seal was set for the remaining 70 minutes.
The 21s did well to lock out the game for the next fifteen minutes, Ian Childs and Seb Dunnett making strong tackles against the Dark Blues’ sparkling back line.
Oxford’s 26th minute try was countered by a superb solo effort from Rob Stevens seven minutes later. Stevens’ brilliant footwork saw him kick and chase past Oxford’s tacklers before diving on the ball in the left corner for Cambridge’s first try of the game.
But the deluge could not be put off for long; two more converted Oxford tries before the break left the Light Blues trailing 29-6.
One of the Oxford stars of the show was winger David Levein, among the smallest players on the pitch but who confusingly wore number three. He bagged a hat-trick on the day, including the last try before half time which he started off by running through the midfield before popping up again in the corner to finish off the move.
The second half began like the first had ended, The Dark Blues running over twice more, both converted by Oxford’s metronomic kicker Charlie Marr.
With 30 minutes on the clock Cambridge’s 14 men began to put together some good periods of play.
After 56 minutes Lloyd Rickard showed quick feet to run through the Oxford defence and score under the posts, duly converted by Childs.
Following another Oxford try, Stevens ran his second of the game, finishing an impressive backs move in the right hand corner; Aaron Sonenfeld missing the simple conversion.
The last score of the match was from Oxford substitute He-Won Cho, running effortlessly around the Cambridge defence, whose legs were flagging after 75 minutes one man down.
After a stunning victory in last year’s fixture, the 21s were left to reflect on what might have happened had they not lost their captain in the opening stages.
Oxford’s ebullient skipper Ed Boyes was philosopical about the incident: “‘The sending off was for a punch to the back of the head. He [Stanton] spoke to me after the game and was very apologetic. There was a lot of tension at the start of the game and things like that can happen.”
He continued: “‘I was pleased with our performance today. We kept up the pressure even when we were leading by more than twenty points. It’s a credit to the boys that they were able to rack up that kind of score.”