The teams for next Thursday’s Varsity Match have been released, amidst much excitement.
That, of course, is because of the selection of the British and Irish Lions, Wales, and Harlequins centre, Jamie Roberts.
He is undoubtedly one of the best players to play in the game in the last 25 years, not only that but he is still at the peak of the powers. Recent tier one internationals to play in the match have included the likes of Anton Oliver (New Zealand) and Joe Roff (Australia) but their appearances came at the end of their careers, not in the middle, as Roberts’ is.
Indeed so much in the middle is it that he was playing in the World Cup only a month ago, and will return to Harlequins after this game.
The man in dark blue charged with keeping him under control in Henry Lamont, who will also captain Oxford on the day, with regular captain George Messum deemed ineligible.
One man who will also have a lot to do with the shackling of Roberts though is the man that our focus is on, Oxford’s Will Wilson.
Wilson was the captain of Wellington College’s outstanding 1st XV last year, one of the best school sides of recent years. Ordinarily a number 8, he is picked at openside for this outing and will likely be charged with getting up and across to Roberts.
It is a huge achievement for the young man, he is the only fresher on either side, a sign of his outstanding quality.
He is a fine all-round footballer too, do not be surprised if you see him popping up to take penalty kicks at some point.
From a wider public point of view, Roberts is the talking point, and will likely draw one of the bigger audiences that the Varsity match has seen for a while, aide in part by his excellent marketability. He manages to achieve that rare feat of being marketable and likeable all at once.
For schools rugby fans though, Wilson will be a big draw too. How will a man turning out in school colours only a matter of months ago fare in the biggest University match of all?
|134th Varsity Match Teams – Thursday 10th December, Twickenham, 14.30|
|Will Briggs (Magdalene)*||1||Lewis Anderson (Trinity) *|
|Max Montgomery (Emmanuel)*||2||Richie Halpin (Lady Margaret Hall)|
|Dave Spelman (Jesus)||3||Ian Williams (Kellogg)*|
|Rob Hall (Downing)*||4||Fergus Taylor (St Catherine’s)*|
|Ian Nagle (Hughes Hall)||5||Andrew Grant (Kellogg)*|
|James Kilroe (Robinson)||6||Nic Robets-Huntley (Green Templeton)|
|Daniel Dass (St Catharine’s)*||7||Will Wilson (Keble)|
|Sam Farmer (Wolfson)*||8||Fraser Heathcote (St Edmund Hall)*|
|Don Stevens (St Edmund’s)* (c)||9||Henry de Berker (Green Templeton)*|
|Fraser Gillies (Hughes Hall)*||10||George Cullen (Kellogg)*|
|Andy Rees (St Catharine’s)*||11||Tom Stileman (St Peter’s)|
|Jamie Roberts (Queens’)†||12||Henry Lamont (New College)*|
|Ollie Clough (St Edmund’s)||13||Matt Janney (Oriel)*|
|Ilia Cherezov (St John’s)*||14||Henry Hughes (Magdalen)|
|Simon Davies (Jesus)||15||Matt Geiger (St Catherine’s)|
|Paddy Calvert (St John’s)*||16||Will Thornton (Lady Margaret Hall)|
|Jacob Poulton (Clare)*||17||Hugo Lu (University)|
|Demitri Moros (St John’s)||18||Kieran Ball (Trinity) or James Scaife (Linacre)*|
|Lola Erogbogbo (Clare)||19||Graeme MacGilchrist (University)*|
|Stephen Leonard (Emmanuel)||20||Will Thomas (Wadham)*|
|Seb Tullie (Emmanuel)*||21||James Faktor (Kellogg)|
|Mike Phillips (Emmanuel)||22||Andrew Abraham (Regent’s Park)*|
|George Williams (Clare)||23||Ed David (St Hilda’s)|