Saturday, January 21, 2012
Oxford University captain John Carter led from the front as his team claimed their biggest Varsity match victory over Cambridge since 1988, winning 28-10 at Twickenham last month. After the game all the talk was of that shiner.
The 2011 version of the Varsity match had everything you’d expect from such an encounter. The old school tradition was firmly in place as the touch judges were former captains, including a certain Joe Roff on one side. Then there was the raw physicality that we’ve come to expect, as the passion for the occasion spilt over more than once.
Sebastian Chabal lookalike Carter, a former professional in the Guinness Premiership with Sale and Leicester, got involved in an off the ball scuffle with Australian Dave Allen, the latter having played with Ulster. Shortly after Carter makes a pass and play carries on, you can see the two get in a tangle. As the chip ahead takes place from the Cambridge counter-attack, Allen and Carter can be seen wrestling on the floor.
What followed was a punch from Allen as he pinned down the Oxford skipper. After being stitched up Carter returned with an almighty shiner and battled all the way to the end, leading his side to a well-deserved victory. Man of the Match should have perhaps gone his way for the heroic effort, but it wasn’t to be and excellent lock Karl Outen claimed that honour.
It was Oxford’s second successive win in the Nomura Varsity Match and Carter clearly wasn’t too bothered by the battle scars afterwards, hailing his young side’s performance as he brushed off the incident, then no doubt joined Allen for a few beers later that evening.
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