Oxford University captain Peter Clarke today named eight Blues in his squad for next Thursday’s Varsity Match at Twickenham.

Clarke’s line-up also includes plenty of youth with four teenagers making the grade to face Cambridge.

Such is Oxford’s strength that flanker Simon Ackroyd, a starter last year, misses out altogether.

Full back Chris Mahony wins his third Blue, while hooker Dan Rosen will appear for a fourth time should he come off the bench to replace former All Black captain Anton Oliver.

Scrum half Brendan McKerchar, prop Ricky Lutton, lock Bert Payne, flanker Clarke and No 8 Peter Wright will all gain a second Blue.

The eighth returnee is Kevin Davis, if he gets the nod over Will Johnson at replacement prop following a fitness test.

Wing Sean Morris, who is a fresher, fly half Ross Swanson, plus replacements Chris Davies and Will Browne are all 19.

With these undergraduates playing alongside Oliver and Canadian international flanker Stan McKeen, Clarke believes he has an ideal blend.

“We have a fresher starting alongside internationals in Anton Oliver and Stan McKeen, so we have a great balance,” said Clarke.

“What we tried to do this year was bed the team together a lot earlier to get units together and avoid too many last-minute disappointments.

“There were a few tough calls, but the selection has been fairly consistent.

“The big strength of the club is the way we develop young players.”

There is pace throughout the team as lock Ian Kench demonstrated with a fine solo try against Northampton on Monday.

Even replacement second row Nic Van Zyl has been prominent rampaging up the wing!

There will be a lot of responsibility on Swanson playing in the pivotal position of fly half, but Clarke has no doubts about him.

“He has got a mature head on his shoulders,” said Clarke.

“If he can settle down and play his normal game, he will be able to open up a lot of opportunities.

“It’s up to the senior guys to take a lot of pressure off him.”

On the bench, Oxford have four forwards and two backs, plus the versatile Alex Cheeseman, who is equally adept at flanker or centre.

“Alex is a tremendously talented player,” said Clarke.

“He is covering back row and centre, and we’ll have no issues playing him in either position.”

As for the next seven days, Clarke added: “There is a lot of hard work to be done.

“We lost our last two games, so there’s a few things we need to tighten up.

“But at the same time, we’ll try and enjoy the last week.

“I will be a very proud man leading the side out, but it will be the same for the 21 guys behind me.

“I will only be happy if they are all smiling at the end of the match because we have won.”

OXFORD 15. Chris Mahony* 14. Sean Morris 13. Jon Burnett 12. Tom Gregory* 11. Tim Catling 10. Ross Swanson 9. Brendan McKerchar* 1. Ricky Lutton* 2. Anton Oliver# 3. Wayne Thompson 4. Ian Kench 5. Bert Payne* 6. Stan McKeen# 7. Peter Clarke* (capt) 8. Peter Wright* 16. Dan Rosen 17. Kevin Davis / Will Johnson 18. Nic Van Zyl 19. Chris Davies 20. Toby Henry 21. Alex Cheesman 22. Will Browne

Cambridge Richards, Wellwood*, Lewis*, Ranby, Greenwood*, Reid*, Rowe, Conlon, Crockett, Dawson* (capt), Wilson, Vickerman#, Jones, Malaney *, Boynton*.

* denotes Blue.

# denotes international