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The Joy of (Level) 7 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 11 Oct 2018 at 17:39
Over the past couple of seasons I've watched quite a bit of BUCS rugby on a Wednesday afternoon, generally at Exeter. I've found the standard to be excellent and the games very exciting.

However, it seems as though neither Oxford nor Cambridge participate in the men's leagues and I wonder why this is? From what I recall seeing of recent varsity matches the BUCS standard is a lot higher. Or have I just answered my own question?!

Seriously though, does anyone see either Oxford or Cambridge play on a regular basis and what are they like?


Edited by The Joy of (Level) 7 - 11 Oct 2018 at 17:40
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rabbie Burns Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Oct 2018 at 18:09
Cambridge seem to have regular games don’t know who against but they recently played Cambridge Rugby club but a quick look on their website would probably answer the question
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Camquin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Oct 2018 at 19:08
With a season built round Twickenham - neither Oxford nor Cambridge enter BUCS league.

Cambridge had full schedule against club opposition including back in the day a game against the touring side.
These days they play lesser clubs and often a 2nd XV.

Town and Gown was revived a few years ago as a 2nd XV fixture - this year was our fourth win ever over Blues and due to injury it was a weak blues side and a very strong Town side, almost all the squad had Nat 1 experience with several regulars playing a first game back from injury.

Blues beat a Loughorough side in the first match of the season - I think that was the Loughborough BUCS side warming up for the league.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kingsheathlad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Oct 2018 at 20:46
Moseley senior academy play Cambridge University away on 18/11/18.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Camquin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 05:58
Actually they play LX club - Cambridge 2nd XV.

Blues play - 

British Police
Richmond
Pacific Islanders
Trinity College Dublin
Crayshaws Welsh XV
Steele Bodger's XV
Oxford

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ruckinspector Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 07:42
With the introduction of the BUCS Super league the standard of non Oxbridge rugby has gone through the roof in the last couple of years. My friend's son attends one of the universities involved and their training/playing/recovery schedule closely resembles that of a Premiership Academy timetable. His son has extended his 3 year undergraduate programme to 4 years due to the amount of time he spends on rugby and the university seems happy to be flexible about this. I understand Oxbridge does not have this type of flexibility in their academic structure. Durham University have beaten Cambridge each year for the past 5 years so i do not think Oxbridge would compete strongly in BUCS -Durham were not strong last season in the BUCS league. I remember reading a couple of years ago that one of the Cambridge players had to take an exam on the morning of the Varsity Match in Cambridge and then rush down to Twickenham for the match-not much flexibility there
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billesleyexile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 08:25
Originally posted by The Joy of (Level) 7 The Joy of (Level) 7 wrote:



Seriously though, does anyone see either Oxford or Cambridge play on a regular basis and what are they like?

I watch Oxford off and on - I used to live over the road from their ground and went every week until 3 or 4 years ago. They have *very* little to do with the other universities, stand fast Cambridge, at uni level - although their seconds and thirds sometimes play other universities. This is partly because they see their standard as much higher (which historically it has been) and partly just because they only have 8 week terms so it's difficult to guarantee to to other unis (typically on 10 or eve 12 week terms) that they will be able to put a team out. As others have noted though it depends on the scheduling of the rest of their lives - no one is at Oxford because they're a rugby player, they're always (even Joe Roffe when he was in the side) doing a real degree *and* playing a bit of rugby. It's weird because the Varsity match at Twickenham is simultaneously the focus of the entire season and, when it comes down to it, entirely missable on the day if a player has got other priorities. I tend not to bother going.

Anyway, moving on, Oxford are streets ahead when they want to be and can put a side out - in the past couple of years I've seen them demolish the student Loughborough Students side (50-6 rings a bell but that's off the top of my head), and I don't think Exeter (one of my old universities) would give the Blues too much of a headache even now when they're on form. 

It's another world - the ground at Oxford is better than some in the championship - clubhouse, covered seated stands down both sides, and they gate a gate of locals paying £5 a head to watch (usually say 70-100, can be a couple of thousand for some fixtures) their matches on Weekday evenings, which is when they usually play.

The fixture list is equally old-school, being comprised of invitational home and away game some of which (like the armed forces) are pencilled in from year to year without even thinking about it.

Oxford's fixture list for this season is (home unless stated) - Blues only, it gets massively complicated if you start adding the other sides in:

October:
Eastern Suburbs (Sydney) 
Pacific Islanders 
Army 
Royal Navy 
Canada 

November:
Trinity College Dublin Away 
Cardiff RFC
Richmond 

Dec:
Cambridge (Twickenham)

January:
TBC (home)
Army (away)

February:
Royal Navy 
Crawshay's Welsh XV
Penguins

They usually manage to fit a couple of others in along the way too - the RAF are notably absent from that list, and in the last couple of years I've seen them play the Worcester and Bristol academies. Major Stanley's has been dropped for the first time since 1894, as it's thought that the standard of the invitational side has worsened year on year since the game went pro, and they've been replaced with Cardiff. Not sure I'm happy about that really. 

Anyone within driving distance of Oxford on one of those evenings is recommended to go and have a look - Iffley Road is one of the great old school rugby ground survivors, a complete time warp which would still grace any level below the premiership now - do a google image search for Iffley Road rugby ground. Not to be confused with the running track....




Edited by billesleyexile - 12 Oct 2018 at 08:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote backrowb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 10:29
Oxford and Cambridge both have their own seat on the RFU Council. Just about sums up the RFU
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bigmal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 11:45
I can recall many many years ago when I first became involved with the administration of my club -as opposed to the playing/social side - a move being made to limit the influence of Oxbridge at the top level.

Our secretary at the time was charged with supporting the reform motion but came back having voted the other way ( on our behalf) because he was persuaded by the arguments put forward. Nobody took exception but 45 years later it would appear that in some areas of the RFU time has stood still?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FHLH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 11:56
Don't forget that both Oxford and Cambridge have a collegiate set up. In Cambridge, the Cuppas could have as many as 4 teams for each college playing in a huge term long rugby fest which for them would be more important than league rugby.

As a club we used to harvest a few Cambridge students, but not many. They're too busy studying and playing Cuppas rugby.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FHLH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 11:59
Originally posted by backrowb backrowb wrote:

Oxford and Cambridge both have their own seat on the RFU Council. Just about sums up the RFU


But have 30+ clubs each, men's and women's, putting out up to 4 teams each week

Edited by FHLH - 12 Oct 2018 at 12:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billesleyexile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 12:31
Originally posted by FHLH FHLH wrote:

Originally posted by backrowb backrowb wrote:

Oxford and Cambridge both have their own seat on the RFU Council. Just about sums up the RFU


But have 30+ clubs each, men's and women's, putting out up to 4 teams each week

In terms of affiliated clubs, it's not that many but your point holds. Oxfordshire RFU - 18 clubs, Oxford University 23

Cambridge University has got about the same, Eastern Counties RFU is low 40s I think.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote backrowb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 12:33
FHLF Cambridge has, according to their website, 26 colleges, averaging 700 students each.  and i am therefore sure few will put out 4 sides.
I have 4 clubs within a 5 mile radius that run a similar amount of teams and they don't want a seat on the RFU Council.  Oxbridge don't play in RFU leagues, they don't offer Mini or junior development.

The RFU has massively overspent developing the corporate event side of Twickenham while getting rid of CRO's. The masses are getting turned of by the Twickenham experience, and the RFU can't see that.The old boy brigade has meant that the very best athletes play and choose other sports and is precisely why a country of 4.7 Million  will always be better at rugby than this country of 53 million. 

The old boy brigade has meant that the very best athletes play and choose other sports and is precisely why a country of 4.7 Million, in the middle of nowhere, will always be better at rugby than this country of 53 million. Rugby is slowly dying through poor player numbers and the RFU want's more corporate revenue and less community spending.  

 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billesleyexile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 12:36
Originally posted by FHLH FHLH wrote:

Don't forget that both Oxford and Cambridge have a collegiate set up. In Cambridge, the Cuppas could have as many as 4 teams for each college playing in a huge term long rugby fest which for them would be more important than league rugby.



Never underestimate the extent to which Oxbridge students identify with their college rather than the university. I was only at Oxford as a graduate student but the sport between the colleges is massive, against other universities not so much - except the light blue one. My college RFC could regularly raise 2/3 XVs for games against the other colleges, and the cuppers final got a gate of over 1,000 at Iffley Road for what is basically a house match. I'm only talking about 06-07 here too, not the mists of time. I'd argue it makes sense for them to continue as CBs, because they're more like the armed forces than the other universities, and Oxford at least would seriously unbalance Oxfordshire RFU if it went in with them. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billesleyexile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 12:43
Originally posted by backrowb backrowb wrote:

FHLF Cambridge has, according to their website, 26 colleges, averaging 700 students each.  and i am therefore sure few will put out 4 sides.


 



That feels like it might be a bet worth taking if anyone on here's a Tab - certainly for Oxford, it's got 23 affiliated rugby clubs, all of which have a 1st XV men and women, and most have second XVs - that's four sides each straight off. Add in the larger colleges that might also be running 3rds, casuals; and OURFC itself which has 3 mens sides, and 2 womens, and overall it'd not be far off.




Edited by billesleyexile - 12 Oct 2018 at 12:44
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote backrowb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 12:55
What do the college teams play? Other colleges from the same uni, about 10 games a year. I look at my local CB website and all the different tabs and virtually non of them are relevant to this type of rugby. It is insular and does nothing for the development of the game outside of its little bubble. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billesleyexile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 13:17
Originally posted by backrowb backrowb wrote:

What do the college teams play? Other colleges from the same uni, about 10 games a year. I look at my local CB website and all the different tabs and virtually non of them are relevant to this type of rugby. It is insular and does nothing for the development of the game outside of its little bubble. 

while all that is true, it does seem to be a justification for why they're not currently in their local CBs *or* the university set ups..... As I said upthread, they're closest in nature to the armed forces. 

So, again, do you:

- merge them with their local CBs, which they'll just take over?
- put them into universities, where they won't take over but could quite easily cause chaos/unbalance at committee level - especially if they block voted? All the time not really fitting into the university pot
- disaffiliate them from the RFU?

It's all a bit like disestablishing the CofE - there's no reason why you wouldn't do it except that it seems like a lot of effort. 

In this case for the sake of 2 votes from 56 on the RFU council. 

Oxford and Cambridge rugby set-ups are different to what everyone else is up to - incestuous rivalries and fixture lists that make no sense to the outsider. Frankly, having not known much about the RFU organisational side of things, as I've sat here this morning suffering with flu and reading docs on the internet, I can more and more understand *why* they are still treated differently. Arguably they need to be because they sure as hell don't really fit anywhere else.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bigmal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 14:23
I could broaden this to raise the issue of which schools Oxbridge draw their students from …..

Surely the point is that clubs stand alone and work hard to develop the game locally which in turn develops the game nationally. Is it right that decisions taken years ago should be upheld today-after all when the game split in 1895 the majority of Northern clubs still exist whether within the RFU of R League whereas a significant number of Southern clubs particularly in London have fallen by the wayside. 

They say everything changes - the establishment still exists though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billesleyexile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 14:51
Problem is where you draw the line of course...

Originally posted by Bigmal Bigmal wrote:

I could broaden this to raise the issue of which schools Oxbridge draw their students from …..

Absolutely, although I'd widen it to all clubs frankly and hammer any that aren't nationally representative.  7% of English school children are in private schooling. Any M&Js that can't show 7% of their members likewise should be financially sanctioned for being unrepresentative until they can show what they're doing as a club to widen their social mix.... works both ways - or it should.

Or, you know, we could let clubs be clubs and not clobber them for the decisions of members' parents. 

Originally posted by Bigmal Bigmal wrote:

Surely the point is that clubs stand alone and work hard to develop the game locally which in turn develops the game nationally.

No, that's the point of *some* clubs. This is the whole reason why they don't all come under the county constituent bodies... Universities, schools, Armed Forces, etc *are* different animals and you want to judge them by the guidelines for a town RFC. Thank God the game isn't set up like that frankly. 

Last time I checked armed forces rugby supplied players playing in the Prem, Champ and N1 (at least) and they've done all that without M&Js. If no one ever played rugby again after playing for Oxbridge I'd concede you had more of a point but that isn't true either. It's not right to say eg OURFC aren't working hard to develop the game. They develop players, and bring in locals to watch their matches in at least comparable gates to a lot of N2/N3 (and sometimes far more), who may then go on and play for local clubs themselves.

Originally posted by Bigmal Bigmal wrote:

Is it right that decisions taken years ago should be upheld today-after all when the game split in 1895 the majority of Northern clubs still exist whether within the RFU of R League whereas a significant number of Southern clubs particularly in London have fallen by the wayside.

Depends, do you want a root and branch reform of the game, from scratch, with all positions and vested interests up for grabs (bring it on, fine by me) or is it a crusade aimed at of 2 out of 56 people because you don't agree with them?

Originally posted by Bigmal Bigmal wrote:

They say everything changes - the establishment still exists though.

Wrong, establishments plural still exist. This is why institutions look after their own - regardless of the institution. It's why Oxbridge people are everywhere like a mafia, and it's also why the leader of the opposition and the shadow chancellor employ each others' sons as advisors. It's why the top judges stick together, and why you similarly struggle to get a paper between Trades Union secretaries (publicly anyway).

I'd be happy with a year zero approach after which no one's vested interest would be respected or listened to more than anyone else's, but I can't be bothered swapping one establishment for another in the meantime. 


Edited by billesleyexile - 12 Oct 2018 at 14:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billesleyexile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2018 at 15:27
Just coming back to this, I should say that whilst I've spent the day seemingly defending part of the old boys network I was totally against the Professional Game Review and the way it sought to reorganise the sport for the benefit of academia. 

That process did however crystallise for me that it really isn't a one size fits all game and that's how we've ended up with the representative structure we've got. 

I wouldn't want to give all the power to the *normal* clubs either!
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