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By Tim Williams
Blues 8, Leicester Tigers 17
Difficult conditions haunted Oxford as they began their home campaign with a defeat for the second year in a row against Leicester Tigers on Monday night.
A try in the final minute from scrum-half Sam Egerton failed to lift the mist for the hosts after Leicester scored three tries on their way to a nine-point victory.
Iffley Road put on a ‘student village’, with a barbecue in the rain and cans of lager selling for 50p, as a fair crowd turned out to see the latest recruits to the Oxford squad.
They were left disappointed after fresher Gus Jones, captain of England under-18s, was forced off through injury midway through the first half after a knock.
That was after the Leicester had taken an early lead – Oxford leaving too much space on the right for George Oliver to go over.
The Dark Blues’ response came 15 minutes later through a penalty from Bramham-Law before they were dealt another blow as Mike Rickner, who had replaced Jones, was sin binned just as Oxford were placing strong pressure on the Tigers’ defence.
Leiecester lock Harry Wells found his way over after the break before some lackadaisical Oxford play allowed Javaid Pohe to intercept and run half the length of the pitch to score before Bryant converted.
It stayed 17-3 until the final move. Oxford had a try disallowed in the penultimate play but there was just enough time for home man-of-the-match Egerton to nip over and end the game on an upbeat note.
Next up, the Blues have Richmond away before facing sides including Russia and Northampton Saints in their build up to December’s Varsity match.