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For once there will be more international players in the women’s Varsity Match than in the men’s at the Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium on Sunday, 4 July.

The American Eagles back row forward Andrew Durutalo will be the sole capped player in the 139th edition of the men’s match this weekend when he packs down in the Oxford back row.

He will be following in the prestigious footsteps of the Cambridge trio of Jamie Roberts, James Horwill and Flip van der Merwe in recent seasons as he becomes the first player from Fiji to play in the world’s greatest amateur fixture.

But the Oxford women’s side can boast three international stars in their ranks as they head to Leicester looking to make it four wins in a row for only the second time in their history.

Manon Johnes will make her Varsity Match debut having played for Wales in the recent Six Nations and can boast 13 caps to her name already. She plays in the Premier 15s league with Bristol Bears.

But that is as a rampaging back row forward. On Sunday she will be playing at scrum half, with the recent Italian flanker Bianca Coltellini featuring in the centre.

The other senior international in the Oxford ranks is the Hong Kong wing Laurel Chor, who is among the replacements. She has already played at a Rugby World Cup and is also a sevens specialist.

If you go back to 1908, and the men’s match played at Queen’s Club, there were no fewer than nine current internationals in the game that ended in a 5-5 draw. Even further back in the mists of time there were 11 current caps in the 1883 game won by Oxford at Blackheath with a further nine players who went on to play for their countries.

The Varsity Match Company Limited
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