The 2022 Varsity Game between Oxford and Cambridge University at Twickenham was overshadowed by a stamp to the face by cambridge lock Charlie Friend.
In the annual game between the two bitter rivals, Cambridge University faced a tough task after they were down to 14 men in the first half. Forward, Charlie Friend was found to be guilty of a stamp to the face at the base of a ruck by referee Andrew Jackson and after a brief TMO check was shown a red card.
The Oxford University newspaper described Friend’s actions as “Cynical” and one fan took to social media to say “That should be a life ban. Disgusting behaviour”. Another said the stamp was “Deliberate , malicious, and not a part of the game. Unlike say a high or tip tackle there’s no Grey area here.”
To make matters worse for the light blues, Oxford had started the game brilliantly and were quickly 21-0 up, with much of their success coming from a rock solid set piece. However, despite being a man down, Cambridge came out a completely different side in the second 40 and with Toby Flood pulling the strings at fly half, put in an extremely respectable second half performance.
Although Oxford had an extra man, they were held scoreless in the second half and Cambridge finished the better side, with the final score of the 150th Varsity game ending 21-17 in favour of the dark blue’s. The 4 point swing in Oxford’s favour all came down to missed conversions by Cambridge.
No shortage of drama in The Men's Varsity Match!@OURFCblues 21 v 17 @CURUFC #TheVarsityMatches #BattleofTheBlues
📸 Credit: Matthew Impey and Paul Harding pic.twitter.com/VnCjX1Datc
— The Varsity Matches (@VarsityMatches) April 2, 2022
The game was watched by a good crowd at Twickenham who were treated a host of international rugby stars from the USA, Hong Kong and England. This was also Toby Flood’s last ever game at the home of English rugby as he announced his retirement from the sport late last year to instead focus his attention on completing a masters degree.
The Women’s Varsity game followed the mens and it ended in the first ever stalemate between the two teams with a 10-10 draw.