RUGBY UNION: Dark Blues go for four in a row

Oxford Mail: John Carter lifts the trophy at Twickenham last year John Carter lifts the trophy at Twickenham last year

OXFORD University captain John Carter was quick to play down the historical significance of today’s Varsity Match at Twickenham (2).

The Dark Blues are chasing a fourth straight victory for the first time since 1948-51, a feat Cambridge have achieved four times in the intervening period.

On a personal front, No 8 Carter is the first man to captain Oxford three times, having led them to victories in 2011 and 2011.

“It (making history) has been brought to my attention by a lot of people,” said Carter, “but I am only thinking about this match and how we go about winning it.

“It is about how we make a success of it with the players that we have got.”

Oxford’s starting XV features 13 returning Blues, which is believed to be a record.

Although keen to make use of so much experience, it had not been on Carter’s mind as he named his side last week.

“I had no idea up until the point that I selected the team,” he said. “It was all by chance.” Carter added:

“It will be very important on that day to have that experience.

“We hope that we dealt with all the issues that come with returning players, things like complacency.

“We have looked at that very hard, so hopefully the experience we have will be a big bonus.”

Oxford’s victories in the previous three Varsity Matches have come after indifferent form in their build-up games, but this season the Dark Blues have shown more consistency and were unlucky not to defeat Russia at Iffley Road.

“Our aim has always been to raise our game every time we play,” said Carter.

“Hopefully, we can do that again in the Varsity Match.”

He added: “We need to trust each other and have confidence in what we are doing. I think they do.

“It is just about believing in each other and not getting too worked up before the game.”

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