December 12 down the years
A completely different set of university firsts
So near and yet ... Will Carling in action during the 1991 World Cup final © Getty Images
A gripping finale as Cambridge beat Oxford 21-19 and also the first penalty-try in the meeting's history as Cambridge were penalised for persistent offside when leading 16-9 eleven minutes from time. That levelled the scores and Oxford seemed to have won the game when David Humphreys' penalty gave his side the lead with seconds remaining. But a massive kick downfield in added time resulted in a ruck under the Oxford posts and Cambridge hooker Jonathan "Ferret" Evans crashed through a gap to win the game. Humphreys, who scored all Oxford's points with three penalties, a drop-goal, a try and a conversion, said he was devastated. "We have trained for three months to win this game. I cannot describe the feeling of disbelief and disappointment." There were other firsts. It was the first time floodlights had been used at Twickenham and the 71,000 crowd - a record for a club match - enabled the teams to head home each £350,000 better off.
What a contrast to 1995. "The Varsity match continues its downhill slide. After yesterday's shambles of a match, it surely can no longer command such a pompous place in t h e rugby calendar." That was the verdict of the Daily Mirror after Cambridge's 16-6 win in front of the Queen and Prince Phillip. Cambridge captain John Howard revealed his motivational half-time chat. "We haven't come here to lose, and you've got to despise the opposition," he said. "It might sound corny, but we all chanted ' We despise them'."
The birth of one of England's most successful - and ultimately controversial - captains, Will Carling. He led England in a period of tremendous success between 1988 - at the age of 22 he was their youngest captain - and 1996 winning 72 caps and three Grand Slams.
A honeymoon performance from Cambridge captain John Robbie - married ten days before - who led his side to a 25-7 win in the Varsity match, kicking 17 of their points despite only playing thanks to a pain-killing injection in his ankle. One of their tries came from Ian Greig, brother of England cricket captain Tony, who himself went on to play cricket for his adopted country.
Australia played a Test match on British soil for the first time, losing 9-6 to Wales in Cardiff. A penalty from Welsh fullback Bert Winfield separated the sides, who scored two tries apiece, at the final whistle. Australia went on to defeat England at Blackheath in their other Test on tour.
In the first official Varsity match since 1938, Cambridge beat Oxford 11-8 in a Wednesday game staged at Twickenham. Oxford were undone by a mistake when their fullback, Ramsden, slipped while behind his try line and Cambridge pounced on the loose ball. The match was watched by two monarchs. King George VI was accompanied to the game by his daughter, Princess Elizabeth.
Lions head coach Warren Gatland named England duo Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell and Wales' Rob Howley as his assistants for the three-Test tour to Austrlaia in 2013. One notable omission was Shaun Edwards who worked with Gatland at Wasps, Wales and on the Lions tour to South Africa in 2009.