Oxford v Cambridge
Rejuvenated John Carter makes Varsity history
ESPN Staff
December 12, 2013
John Carter lifts the trophy for the second time after Oxford's win in 2012 © PA Photos

Oxford v Cambridge, Twickenham, 2.00pm

John Carter will make Varsity Match history when he leads out Oxford University later today, becoming the first man to lead the side at Twickenham three times. What makes Carter's achievement all the more remarkable is that he was forced to retire as a professional six years ago after sustaining a serious shoulder injury.

"When I played for Sale I was very dedicated and I felt that I was really getting into the game so to get an injury at that stage meant that my dream was shattered," Carter told the Daily Telegraph. "It's the harsh reality of being a professional sportsman but it's something that you don't quite have control over and I found it very difficult for a time having lost my hopes and my dreams.

"I spent a couple of years thinking about different things but then applied for a psychoanalysis course at Oxford which was the mean reason that I came here and through that I got drawn back into rugby. I'm using various aspects of my career, particularly the difficult transition after professional sport, as material for my research."

Carter played on a losing side in 2009 and retired again, but was tempted back the following season only to miss his second Blue after a recurrence of the same shoulder injury. But returning as captain in 2011, he told the paper the switch to playing for fun rekindled his love for the sport.

"The professional environment does have the potential for you to lose some of the aspects of why you play rugby. You can really reflect on why you are playing the game, the values of the sport and the shared experiences that come from being involved with 40 players throughout the season."

Oxford go into the match with an experienced side - they have 12 Blues - Cambridge go into the game with the better form with four straight wins.

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