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Honor James

MR Sport to deliver Rugby League Varsity Match

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Oxford and Cambridge University rugby league clubs have appointed newly-formed MR Sport to deliver the annual Rugby League Varsity Match from 2013.

MR Sport is run by Mark Ramsdale who is Secretariat to the Parliamentary Rugby League Group and Secretary of the Political Animals RLFC. From St Helens, Ramsdale played at Cambridge in 2007/2008 whilst studying at the university’s business school.

In a deal running to 2015, MR Sport will be responsible for developing the game’s potential as a distinctive event in the rugby league calendar and enabling the two clubs to focus more on the match itself.

On making the announcement, Dr John Hobart of Oxford and Rupert Wingate-Saul of Cambridge issued the following statement:

“We are delighted to announce the appointed of MR Sport to deliver the Rugby League Varsity Match from 2013. As well as having had experience of Oxbridge rugby league, Mark understands the important position the match holds in the sport. He brings to the event ideas, energy and commercial acumen that will take the Varsity Match to the next level. We are very much looking forward to the next few years of working together.”

“Having played at Cambridge, I’m thrilled to have been awarded delivery of the Rugby League Varsity Match," [said Mark Ramsadale]. Varsity Matches have a special place in sport, none moreso than rugby league. There is great potential for the game to promote the sport to a wider audience, not only to students at Oxford and Cambridge, but also to Oxbridge alumni and friends of the two institutions.

“Our intention over the coming years is to cement the Varsity Match in the sporting calendar and look to new ways the game can be developed at the two universities. I’m particularly keen to work with broader commercial partners who have an interest in Oxford and Cambridge to see how we might work together.”

The 2013 Rugby League Varsity Match will be the 33rd played between Oxford and Cambridge. Cambridge is narrowly ahead with 16 victories over Oxford's 15 with one draw. Oxford has won five out of the last six encounters. Details will follow about location, timing and ticketing.

Mark Ramsdale

Oxford Rugby League media

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I do hope that something can be done about the varsity match. I think RL needs to become a full blue at Cambridge though before it will really take off. Should that turnaround happen then there is a real chance of the match developing into a real event.

Well done Mark Ramsdale for doing this. Somebody needed to. I wish him all the very best in his attempts to develop support at all levels.

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It's chicken and egg, it won't get full blue status until it has taken off.

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It's chicken and egg, it won't get full blue status until it has taken off.

But it's a full blue at Oxford. That has been given as the reason why they have been beating Cambridge so comprehensively in the matches (I've seen them recently as they have been televised).

Why Cambridge are resisting is perplexing.

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But it's a full blue at Oxford. That has been given as the reason why they have been beating Cambridge so comprehensively in the matches (I've seen them recently as they have been televised).

Why Cambridge are resisting is perplexing.

There are criteria for evaluating whether a sport deserves full blue, half or no status at all. It's not just the whims of a committee. One problem is that neither Oxford nor Cambridge are much good at RL, by comparison, the rowing teams are easily the best in the UK and the cricket teams have first class status (though Gods knows why).

That it had full blue status at Oxford was news to me and tbh mystifying.

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I understand that the Oxford club can nominate individual players to be put forward for consideration for a full blue, with the remainder of the team earning a half blue. I'm sure Glos Exile could confirm...

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