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RUGBY UNION: Varsity line-up still a mystery
JAMES Wade says Oxford University’s coaching team have no clue who their Varsity Match XV will be, but he is far from panicking.
The Dark Blues have selected more than 40 players for their three matches so far this season, even without captain John Carter taking the field.
Oxford are clearly considering all their options before whittling down their potential squad to face Cambridge at Twickenham, and head coach Wade feels this is the right approach to take.
“We have got no clue who our Varsity XV is, but that is not a bad thing,” said Wade.
“It is keeping everyone on their toes.”
Wade added: “We have got to give everyone a chance to play and perform.
“It is not just about the Blues Varsity, we have got the Greyhounds and the Under 21s to consider.
“At some point we have got to bring some consistency in, but at the moment there is still quite a bit of work to do.
“It is good that everyone is still fighting hard for the spots.”
Carter hopes to have recovered from a neck problem to lead the Dark Blues at Richmond on Monday night.
Oxford lost their first home game of the season 17-8 to a young Leicester side on Monday, but Wade was happy with the overall display.
“It was a slow start, but compared to where we were two weeks ago, it is taking shape and we are starting to get good performances from individuals,” said Wade “Leicester had a well-organised defence and they are a full-time professional outfit.
“I was impressed with our attitude. We kept fighting to the end.”
The Dark Blues kept trying to move the ball, but lacked their opponents’ fluency.
Wade stressed it was important to maintain that ambition.
“No one is going to watch us if we are playing boring rugby,” he said.
“They’ll come if they enjoy it and see an entertaining game.
“We want to encourage the boys to go out and play.
“You can come off with a win sometimes and not feel good.
“If the boys have enjoyed it, you will get a better peformance each week.”
- OXFORD University will now play Northampton twice this term to aid their Varsity Match preparations.
The Dark Blues were already due to host the Saints on Monday, November 19, but will now also visit Franklin’s Gardens on October 22.