Varsity match WWI commemoration plans near completion
The Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge to commemorate the 55 Blues who fell in World War 1.
The 133rd Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge is being turned into a major commemoration of the 55 Blues who fell in World War 1.
All season the two clubs have been developing plans to celebrate the lives of the 55 players – 27 Oxford and 28 Cambridge – who lost their lives in the great conflict between 1914-18 and already Oxford have linked with Rugby School in remembering Ernest Boyd, the first Blue to fall on 20 October, 1914.
The Universities are inviting all the schools linked to the 55 Blues to attend the game as their guests on Thursday, 11 December and they will be involved with a wreath laying ceremony at the RFU’s War Memorial at the ground before kick-off.
The teams will take to the field for the game via a guard of honour made up of players from the University Colleges representing the fallen Blues and the Last Post will be played before kick-off.
Former Wales and British & Irish Lions back row forward Eddie Butler, a Cambridge Blue in 1976-78, will read out the names of the ‘55 Fallen Blues’ as the teams line-up before kick-offand their photographs will appear on the big screens and perimeter signage at the ground. Both teams will also wear poppies on their shirts for the Under 21 and Senior matches, in addition to performances due from the Band of the Parachute Regiment and the Band of the Adjutant General Corps.
The Varsity Match ambassador, Alastair Hignell, who presents a Medal of Honour in his name to the Man of the Match, is a Trustee of Leonard Cheshire Disability which is the official charity of The Varsity Match. This year the charity is producing 10,000 dark and light blue Santa Hats that will be sold before and at the game, with all proceeds going the charity.
“The response we have had from schools, clubs and fans alike has been fantastic and we are looking for as many people as possible to join us to commemorate these 55 brave young men who so willingly gave their lives for their country 100 years ago,” said Cambridge University RFC president, Mark Bailey.
“In addition, we want everyone to witness what will be another great game between two teams who continue to maintain the high standards or rivalry and friendship that have characterised this amazing fixture ever since it was first played in 1872.
“Oxford are chasing a fifth successive victory for the first time in their history and Jacob Taylor’s men have already beaten Wasps this season and won two games on tour in Russia. Harry Peck, who is leading Cambridge this year, is building a highly competitive side that will be determined to stop the Dark Blues making history, as their 27-3 win over Coventry demonstrated this week.”