Oxford University's new captain John Allen may have only taken up rugby at the age of 21, but he has crammed in a lot into the last seven years.

John AllenSince then, the powerful centre threequarter has played for Parramatta, Rosslyn Park and Sydney's Southern Districts before representing ACT Brumbies in the Super 12.

However, the one thing he has not done on a regular basis is captain a side. But he feels he is well qualified to lead.

He said: "Playing alongside established players like George Gregan, Scott Larkham and Joe Roth for the Brumbies was a great learning experience.

"It's a great honour to lead Oxford. I will enjoy the challenge, which will bring the best out of my game.

"I feel I can provide ideas and direction to the Oxford side, and get the right balance between intensity and composure in the squad - that comes from being a teacher for five years."

Allen taught maths, PE and science before deciding to come to Oxford to study an MSc in the science and medicine of athletic performance at University College.

"The course concerns the physiology of training and coaching, so becoming captain could be seen as work experience," he joked.

Allen is also a cricketer of note. He has joined the Oxford Academy and hopes to earn his Blue in The Parks this summer.

A top-order batsmen, he played for the Hawkesbury club in Sydney grade cricket and has his first nets session later this week.

But it is rugby and leading Oxford to victory over Cambridge at Twickenham in December that is uppermost in his mind.

"Although Cambridge might have a few more old Blues returning next year, the quality of our possible recruits is excellent and if they are successful with their applications, I feel we will have a side capable of winning the Varsity Match," he said.