It was a disappointing day for Cambridge yesterday (11 December 2001) as the 120th annual Varsity match ended in Oxford gaining its third successive win.

It was not so much a game of two halves as a game of half chances - the first try-less match since 1981 proved a disappointing spectacle for the 50,000 who flocked to Twickenham.

Oxford went into the lead with a fifth minute penalty goal from Seb FitzGerald. Cambridge levelled 10 minutes later but Oxford restored their three-point lead soon after and Cambridge trailed for the rest of the match.

For much of the game the fog which has dominated East Anglia this week seemed to have descended on the two teams, whose performances were marred by repeated handling errors from both sets of backs. Cambridge had a significant amount of territory and possession but failed to break Oxford's extremely tight defence.

Expressing his disappointment after the match, Tony Rodgers, the Cambridge coach for the last 22 years, said the match "needed someone to grab it by the scruff of the neck and impose some authority but, on the day, neither side had the personality to do it."

Cambridge must hope for a better result in the Research Assessment Exercise, the findings of which will be published on Friday.

Oxford University: N Marsh (Magdalen); W Rubie (Brasenose), L Sherriff (St Anne's), S Adlen (Jesus), W Ellerby (St Hugh's); S FitzGerald (Balliol), D Taberner (Worcester); K Tkachuk (Kellogg), P Nicholas (Brasenose), R Lehner (Kellogg), A Russell (Magdalen), C Edwards (Balliol), S Miall (Pembroke), J Bolger (St Peter's), B Robinson (Wadham, capt). Replacements: O Julyan (Keble), H Nwume (University), E Hallett (Brasenose), F Gemmell (St Catherine's), A Nishioka (Oriel), S Fuchigami (Mansfield), T Robinson (Oriel).

Cambridge University: A Newmarch (St Edmund's); S Moffat (St Edmund's), S Adams (Fitzwilliam), M Rivaro (Hughes Hall), J Baker (Hughes Hall); S Howard (St Edmund's), M Chapman-Smith (Hughes Hall); A O'Brien (St Edmund's), C Collins (Wolfson), D Brett (Trinity Hall), A Innes (Hughes Hall), E Mallett (St Edmund's), M Graham (King's), D Blaikie (Hughes Hall), M Count (Jesus, capt). Replacements: S Amor (St Edmund's), C Derksen (Hughes Hall), M Edwards (Hughes Hall), J Johnson (St John's), M Purdy (Fitzwilliam), T Blathwayt (St John's), J Meredith (Hughes Hall).

Referee: Steve Lander (Rugby Football Union).

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