Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
RUGBY UNION: Dark Blues will pick up - Carter
OXFORD University captain John Carter has pledged a big improvement from his side as they build towards the Varsity Match.
The Dark Blues have yet to win a game this season, with their best result coming in a 17-17 draw at Moseley.
And having produced what Carter admitted was a “very disappointing” display in losing to Henley on Monday, the students certainly need to raise their game.
Carter, who did not play against Henley, stressed Oxford would field a stronger line-up in their next match – Sunday’s visit of Russia.
“Russia will be the first time this season that we will be pick a first team,” said Carter.
“All in all, that will be a first-choice team and hopefully as a result that will deliver a first-class performance.”
He added: “The Henley game was very disappointing and due to a combination of factors.
“This was a final trial game.
“We were going through a lot of players and asking them to put their hands up for selection. Some did, some didn’t.
“What we wanted from the game as a management group, we got, but as the captain, I didn’t get what I wanted to at all.
“It was disappointing to see a lack of drive from some players.”
Cambridge University had won three of their first four matches before facing Crawshay’s Welsh XV last night.
Carter was at least impressed by flanker Gus Jones, whom he labelled as “outstanding”.
He also praised No 8 Alex Waddingham and prop Jon Direen, while fly half Charlie Marr kicked with authority.
The Dark Blues rise to the occasion in the last two Varsity Matches after a mediocre build-up and Carter is intent on recreating that team spirit.
But he said: “I am not complacent about it, thinking that things are just going to happen, but I won’t panic either. I know things will improve.”
Carter started at No 8 in last year’s Varsity victory, but is considering a positional switch, with lock an option.
He said: “I can play elsewhere. It will come down to the best players and combinations.
“We have got a very competitive back row and I might find myself elsewhere if needs be.
“At the end of the day, the team comes first. I will talk to the coaching team about it.”