MONDAY, 28 FEBRUARY
In the aftermath of England v Wales at Twickenham in the 6 Nations, there are still two more big games to come at the home of English rugby this season – England v Ireland on 12 March and Oxford v Cambridge in the two Varsity Matches on 2 April.
Twickenham’s history goes all the way back to 1909 when the first game was played at the ground between Harlequins and Richmond on 2 October. Although the men’s varsity Match didn’t switch to play there until 1921, there were plenty of Oxbridge links to the venue before then.
The RFU secretary when the ground was being built from 1907-09 was Charlie Marriott, a former Cambridge Blue, and the man who kicked-off in the first fixture, won by the Quins 14-10 in front of a crowd of 2,000, was the 1908 Cambridge captain, Gordon Carey.
He was one of two Light Blues in the Quins side, joining George Chapman in the pack, while there was a Dark Blue forward on either side, John Bussell for Quins and Walter Odgers for Richmond. There were also two Oxford Blues in the home back line in Ronnie Poulton and Adrian Stoop.
The RFU first purchased 10¼ acres of land in the heart of Twickenham in 1907 on the recommendation of committee member Billy Williams. It cost them £5,572 at the time.
In those days Twickenham was a rural area and there was a lot of criticism in the press that the venue was too far away from central London. It became known as ‘Billy Williams’ Cabbage Patch’ because the land had previously been used as a market garden and the grass was too long.
The first international match at Twickenham was England v Wales on 15 January, 1910. England triumphed 11-6 and their side included Poulton and Stoop, as well as the debut-making Oxford student Lancelot Barrington-Ward.
A total of 18,000 rugby fans flocked to the stadium, standing in the newly erected East and West Stands, the terrace to the South and on a hill to the North.
The first Varsity Match at Twickenham was on 8 December, 1921, when Oxford won 11-5. The 140th match in the series of men’s matches will be at Twickenham on Saturday, 2 April, when it will be preceded by the 36th women’s fixture.
TUESDAY, 1 MARCH
Women’s round-up – how the two teams have got on to date and how they have fared against each other so far (Oxford won 15-0 at Grange Road and 12-10 at Iffley Road).
WEDNESDAY, 2 MARCH
Emerging from COVID – Cambridge skipper Stephen Leonard and Oxford captain Louis Jackson tell the story of their teams this season as they preparing for a momentous occasion.
THURSDAY, 3 MARCH
Oh brother! Jamie and Hugo Lloyd-Williams could find themselves on opposing teams this year in what would be only the third occasion in the 150 year history of the fixture. Jamie is at Oxford and Hugo won a Blue for Cambridge in July, 2021.
The only other sets of brothers to play against each other in a Varsity Match were Arthur (Ox) and Walter Michell (Cam) in 1873 and Walter (Ox) and Francis Odgers (Cam) in 1901.
Be great to get a picture of the two of them together.
FRIDAY, 4 MARCH
The Yanks are coming! Oxford have three USA Eagles internationals vying for a place at Twickenham. Last year’s VM man of the match Andrew Durutalo is back, along with Nick Civetta (USA) and Eric Fry (USA). They also have a Hong Kong international hooker, Alex Post.
The American connection with the VM began with Andrew Valentine back in 1923. He played in three VMs and won an Olympic Gold medal in Paris in 1924 when the USA beat France in the final.