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RUGBY: Dark Blues end their slump with win over Stanley's
Oxford University 31, Major Stanley's XV 22. IT was a case of eighth time lucky as Oxford University defeated the Major Stanley's XV to record their first victory of the season.
The Dark Blues had lost six and drawn one before this traditional fixture at Iffley Road and struggled to contain their scratch visitors at the start.
They did pick up after that, with lively full back Sam Egerton scoring two tries as the three-quarters found their rhythm, but far tougher tests are to come.
Stanley's included Samoan internationals Rupena Lavesa, Ki Anufe, Auvasa Falealili and Ropeti Lafu.
They had the first glimpse of a try on 11 minutes, but Oxford Harlequins wing Jonny Tevita could not control his kick ahead.
Scrum half Falealili showed great impudence to snipe away from a ruck before being hauled down 15 metres short.
And Stanley's deservedly took the lead on 20 minutes when some slick handling led to a try for wing Paul C'Connor.
Inspired by their Samoans, Stanley's were looking the more fluent and good hands led to lock Karl Outen going close.
Oxford finally cut through on the half hour with a strong run from centre Cassian Bramham-Law and Egerton went over from the scrum half position after the ball was recycled.
A second try should have followed soon afterwards, but wing Henry Lamont spilled the scoring pass after Egerton had raced clear.
Dark Blues prop Bob Baker scored from close range on 35 minutes as his side found their feet and fly half Charlie Marr converted from the touchline, having made a hash of his earlier attempt.
Oxford were caught napping just before the break when centre Levasa powered over from a quick tapped penalty to make it 12-10.
But the hosts began the second period in fine style, conjuring up a second try for Egerton with some precise passing, Bramham-Law converting. More pressure led to centre Gavin Turner going over on 51 minutes, with Bramham-Law adding the extras.
Oxford were opening up now and scrum half Stuart Commins sprinted down the left for try No 5 and 31-10.
Fly half Anufe blasted his way through the middle before some quick recycling allowed Falealili, now at centre, to score a great try for Stanley's on 62 minutes.
It was 31-22 on 69 minutes when more swift passing created space for replacement Harry Whittington, of Oxford Harlequins, to canter over on the right, Anufe converting.
The students finished on top, but could not add to their tally.
Oxford University: Egerton* (Marr* 75), Cho, Bramham-Law*, Turner* (Hughes 54), Lamont, Marr* (Hudson* 41), Commins (McCulla 60), H Macdonald* (Anderson* 41), Gardner (Barnes 68), Baker (Direen 41), Law*, Rowlands (D Macdonald 41, Fell 74), Waddingham, Harris (Jones 41), Carter* (capt) (Rickner 41).
Major Stanley's XV (starting line-up): Jones, Tevita, Levasa#, Brock, O'Connor, Anufe#, Falealili#, Maidment, Lafu#, Steventon, Smith, Outen*, Allen, Woods* (capt), Stradwick.
* denotes Blue. # denotes international.
Referee: R Kelly (RFU).
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