We’ve got an outstanding team of rugby experts lined up for The Varsity Matches 2022, which will be aired on Freesports and live-streamed (more info here) this Saturday at 12.30pm (Women’s) and 3.30pm (Men’s), respectively.
Among the expert panelists providing pre and mid-match analysis for the Men’s Varsity Match are Phil de Glanville, Flip van der Merwe and Damien Hopley.
Former England captain Phil de Glanville picked up plenty of trophies as part of an all-conquering Bath team in the 1990s. These honours included captaining Bath to a league and cup double in 1996 and starting in the 1998 Heineken Cup winning side, the first English team to lift the trophy. Glanville was appointed England captain following Will Carling’s decision to step down and went on to win 38 caps for his country. He was part of the victorious Oxford side at Twickenham in 1990, alongside fellow internationals Adrian Davies and Toshiyuki Hayashi.
Damien Hopley played for Cambridge in the 1992 Men’s Varsity Match and brought home the win in a close 19-11 result result in Cambridge’s favour. A year later, whilst still studying at the university, he picked up a winners medal at the inaugural Sevens Rugby World Cup, as a member of the England team which included Lawrence Dallaglio, Matt Dawson and fellow Blue Andrew Harriman.
Hopley’s career was curtailed by injury and he went on to form the Rugby Players Association, the first union for professional players. His work with the RPA continues to shape the game and is at the forefront of player welfare.
Hard hitting South African lock Flip van der Merwe was a hugely popular figure at Grange Road during his time at Cambridge, which culminated in a 2019 victory in the Men’s Varsity Match at Twickenham alongside former Wallaby captain James Horwill.
Flip is clearly from good rugby stock, with his father Flippie appearing for South Africa on six occasions, and his brother Francois also having plied his trade as a lock for the likes of Racing 92, Lyon and Western Province. The giant second row enjoyed a stellar career with the Cheetahs, Bulls and then Clermont and his uncompromising performances earned him 36 caps for the Springboks.
With a blend of backs and forwards in both shades of blue, our panel will be perfectly positioned to bring you their unique perspective on the The Varsity Match experience as well as insight on the 150th anniversary match.