BGS Old Boy '06 George Blomfield, who is completing an MBA at Oxford University, had the honour of playing in the famous Varsity Match against Cambridge University at Twickenham Stadium late last year.
Regarded as one of the toughest and most significant matches outside of professional rugby, the Varsity Match has a history that stretches back 145 years. Since 1921 it has been played at the iconic Twickenham Stadium in London.
Blomfield said he joined the Oxford Blues rugby team last year, ahead of the start of the academic term on a pre-season tour to Toulon in France. On the high performance tour, the team trained three times each day and took on the Toulon development team in a match. The team also toured Croatia, playing against their national team, as well as against English Premiership clubs the North Hampton Saints and Worcester Warriors.
“The lead up to the Varsity Match was the most intense game preparation I've ever been through," Blomfield said. "At Oxford they've created an environment that mimics that of a professional rugby set up. In the months leading up to the match, we had training sessions most days, as well as frequent team meetings, fitness and gym sessions. The schedule was really demanding, managing the MBA workload with the training and travel requirements of the team was tough but rewarding."
A few days before the match, Blomfield and the Oxford team were given an “incredible" tour of Twickenham Stadium. The night before the match they stayed at the Marriot Hotel attached to the stadium, where they had a team dinner and watched video clips from past Varsity Matches, before each member of the team was presented with their game day jersey by another team member.
"Running out on to the most famous rugby stadium in the world was pretty incredible," Blomfield said. "What amazed me the most was the noise of the crowd. I remember feeling completely exhausted by the pace of the game and looking up to see that we were only 10 minutes into the first half. It was humbling to play in such a historical fixture, in front of friends and family with many people tuning in to watch the game on Fox Sports back home."
Unfortunately, despite the perfect preparation, the Oxford Blues went down in an extremely close match 23-18. From the total 135 matches, Cambridge extended their lead to 62 wins to Oxford's 59 wins, with 14 draws.