Pumped up and raring to go, Oxford University is ready to do battle with arch rivals Cambridge in today’s annual Varsity rugby matches.
The teams will fight for glory at Twickenham, with the 31st women’s match kicking off at 11.30am and the men’s 136th contest at 3pm.
Squads were announced last month and Oxford men’s skipper Conor Kearns is hoping to lead his side back to winning ways after a record run of six successive victories before last year’s 23-18 defeat.
The Irishman, one of six former Blues in the starting XV, has been able to include Canadian international Dan Moor at centre.
Kearns has, however, resisted the temptation to partner Moor with current Newcastle Falcons centre Dom Waldouck.
Instead, he has given the former Heineken Cup winner with Wasps and England Saxons player a place on the replacements bench after only playing once in the build-up to the big game due to injury.
Oxford women’s skipper Sophie Behan is hoping to sign-off her Varsity career with another win.
Behan was one of many Dark Blue heroines last year when Oxford hit-back from the humiliation of a 52-0 defeat on their Twickenham debut 12 months earlier to stun Cambridge with a 3-0 victory, thanks to a single penalty from outside half Catherine Wilcock.
“To win last year was incredible, but it was made all the better by the fact that a year earlier we had stood on the same pitch at the end of the game having conceded eight tries and been beaten 52-0,” said Behan, who will lead the side from No 8.
Their defensive performance that day almost had their coach, the 2014 England World Cup winning coach Gary Street, in tears, but this time round he is hoping to show the other side of his side’s game.
“The effort that the players put in last year was unbelievable and I was so pleased for them. It really was an extraordinary defensive effort and I have to admit I did get a bit emotional,” said Street.
“But I hope people can see more of what we can do in attack this year.”
The men’s fixture will be shown on BBC 2.