The Varsity Match

The Varsity Match was first contested in 1872, a year after the first international match. It was moved permanently to Twickenham in 1921 and has remained an annual fixture ever since. Traditionally held on a Tuesday, it has more recently been moved to a Thursday, in the winter month of December.

The 100th game, staged in 1981, is one of the few games to have been played on snow, owing to overnight snowfall that groundstaff were unable to shift.

The game regularly attracts upwards of 30,000 spectators and has always been of a very high standard. Ronnie Poulton, Mike Gibson, Gerald Davies, David Kirk, Rob Andrew and Gavin Hastings are just a few to have taken part in the game over the years.


About the Author– The above article/ images are extracts from the book ‘Twickenham: Home of England Rugby’ available from Phil McGowan has been a member of the World Rugby Museum team since 2007.




The World Rugby Museum will be displaying a selection of Varsity related material, such as former England captain Ronnie Poulton’s cap and rose, to coincide with this week’s fixture. Poulton set an individual record by scoring five tries for Oxford University RFC during the 1909 Varsity Match. The 1909 match ball is also on display in the museum.

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