BOB Baker is relishing a fresh approach to rugby union after joining Oxford University as a postgraduate student.
The 23-year-old former Chinnor prop left Wasps last summer after playing 36 first-team matches.
Baker hopes to win a Blue in December’s Varsity Match, but is not sure whether he will then seek a return to the professional ranks.
“I just want to see how this season goes up to the Varsity Match,” said Baker, who is studying history.
“I am enjoying being in a completely different environment.
“I really like being part of this squad. We have been together for three weeks now.
“It has brought back the enjoyment of playing rugby, which was something that I had probably lost touch with over the last year or so.”
Baker already knew Oxford University head coach James Wade due to his role as Wasps’ high performance manager.
“I didn’t really speak to him about my application because I though there might be a conflict of interests,” said Baker.
He added: “I applied to go to Oxford as an undergraduate, but didn’t end up getting in, so I did my first degree at LSE in London.”
Baker, who is joined in the Dark Blues squad by another former Wasps player, back-row forward James Harris, has settled in well.
“It has been really good,” he said. “It is fresh and completely different from anywhere else I have been involved in.
“There are a lot of talented players who have been through Premiership academies or even first teams.
“It is a really good mix.”
Baker and his teammates returned from a training camp in Portugal this week and visit Durham University in their season opener tomorrow night.
The former Chinnor man is tipping them to hold their own in National 2 South this season and took part in Oxford’s recent training session at Kingsey Road.
“I think Oxford University really appreciate the link with Chinnor,” said Baker.