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29 February 2024

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St Hugh’s postgraduate student selected to play for the Oxford Blues at The Varsity Matches

Congratulations to St Hugh’s postgraduate student Michele Szegda (MSc Medical Physics with Radiobiology) who has been selected to play for the Oxford Blues as they take on Cambridge in the 2024 Varsity Matches on Saturday 2 March at the StoneX.

With the first Varsity Match being played in 1872, it is one of the world’s longest running sporting fixtures. It represents the pinnacle of amateur and student rugby where Oxford and Cambridge Universities compete for the title of Varsity holders.

Michele said, ‘This is an incredibly historic fixture having first been played over 150 years ago, and I am extremely excited to represent the College and the University on this huge stage.

‘The special part of the Oxford college system is that it not only allows you to play Uni sports but also to represent your college in a more sociable, but nonetheless extremely competitive environment. Some of the best memories I’ve had at Oxford have been playing St Hugh’s rugby and the close college friendships I have formed throughout the years.’

Michele started her rugby career in her first year of undergrad at the United States Military Academy at West Point in America, having played football her whole life. Michele’s room mate told her that women footballers usually make good rugby players and persuaded her to try out for the team. Michele played all four years of her US rugby in the NIRA league where she learned to be a hooker – the position she plays in for the Oxford Blues.

Michele said, ‘Training with the Blues has been amazing! I love the different style of play that the Blues play compared with my old US team.

‘It’s really hard to pinpoint the best aspects of rugby, but it fundamentally comes down to the community of players that you have the privilege of playing with. There is nothing like putting your heart, body, and soul on the line for your team mates around you. It inspires a different level of trust, commitment, and friendship that is hard to find elsewhere. When you are battling it out on the pitch and completely exhausted, the reason you dig a little deeper and hustle a little more is to not let your teammates down. Personally, I’ve learned more about who I am and what I am capable of from playing rugby than in any other area of my life.’

If you would like to go along and support Michele and the Oxford Blues on Saturday, details of how to obtain tickets are below:

General admission ticket link is here.

The student ticket link is here.

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