Derek Asbun and Jason Law, both 2011 California co-captains, have been selected to Oxford University's lineup for the 130th Varsity Match against Cambridge on December 8. The announcement came Thursday at Twickenham.
Asbun was named as a starter at flanker in the No. 6 jersey, while Law, who has rebounded from an early-season injury, was named No. 18 as a replacement player.
These former Golden Bears proved themselves at Oxford over the course of a preseason tour of Siberia and a challenging fall schedule, competing internally with a 44-man Oxford roster of pedigreed players from the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Asia in order to make the 23-man lineup (starters and bench) for the Cambridge match.
"It's times like these that we feel fortunate and prepared after what we have been through at Cal," said Asbun.
"We are so proud of these two boys and not the least bit surprised they have come through the competition to earn their places," said Cal head coach Jack Clark. "They are not only talented athletes, they are prototypical teammates, the exact kind of men you want to go into a competition of this magnitude with."
Asbun has featured for Oxford with starts all over the back row as well as at hooker, earning Man of the Match against Richmond, while Law played his way into the Varsity lineup with impressive performances later in the campaign, including a start in the Major Staley's match November 16.
As Asbun gets the start at flanker against Cambridge, Law will be ready to play any of five different positions between the second row and back row should he get the call at Twickenham, the largest dedicated rugby venue in the world, with a capacity of 82,000 fans.
Only players who actually take the field during the Varsity Match earn the Varsity Blue honor. Asbun and Law are the seventh and eighth former Cal rugby players to pursue graduate studies while playing rugby at Oxford, and are poised to become the fourth and fifth former Bears to earn a Varsity Blue.
Former U.S. internationals Gary Hein, Don James Jr. and Ray Lehner are the three Cal graduates to have achieved this honor, earning a combined seven Varsity Blues among them.
Asbun is studying for a postgraduate degree in Urban Studies at Oxford while Law pursues a Master of Science degree in Sustainable Urban Development.
The rugby program at Oxford was founded in 1869, 13 years before Cal began its team. The first Varsity Match was held in 1872 and has grown to become a virtual national holiday in England. Entering the 2011 Varsity Match, Cambridge leads the all-time series, 61-54-14.
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