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Oxford University Australian Rules Football Club (often referred to as OUARFC) is an Australian rules football club representing the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The club operates under the auspices of the Oxford University Sport Federation.[1]


OUARFC Men's team at the 2020 Varsity Match played in Oxford
OUARFC Men's team at the 2020 Varsity Match played in Oxford

The club was founded in 1906 by Prescott Harper, a Rhodes Scholar (Oriel & Western Australia, 1905).[2] The team was initially made up primarily of Rhodes Scholars from Australia and South Africa. The first match against a University of Cambridge team took place on March 18, 1911, in Oxford. The Oxford team was captained by Alfred Clemes, also a Rhodes scholar (Magdalen & Tasmania, 1908). The game was won by Oxford. There is no known record of other games against Cambridge until 1921, when the regular Varsity fixture commenced with the Cambridge University Australian Rules Football Club. The Varsity Match has continued without any missed fixtures through until 2020. This history makes the AFL Oxford v Cambridge Varsity Match one of the oldest varsity matches,[1][3] and an early example of the spread of Australian rules football around the world.[4] Women played their first game in OUARFC colours in February 2015,[1] and in 2018 Romy Minko was elected as the club's first female president.

Since its inception in 2018 the club has participated in the National University League of AFL England.[5] Teams within this league include the University of Cambridge, University of Birmingham and a combined team of players from Universities of South Wales. The club also plays occasional games against teams from around the Europe and the UK including the Amsterdam Devils[6] and the Odense Lions.[7][8]

Team composition and notable players

Players have included notable Australians such as Judges of the Supreme Court of Victoria Chris Maxwell and Joseph Santamaria, the prominent businessman Sir Rod Eddington, mining executive Andrew Michelmore, and former AFL Commission Chairman and former Carlton Football Club captain Mike Fitzpatrick.[3]

The team often included multiple Rhodes Scholars,[3] and Sir John Monash Scholars, while both teams also often attract an influx of rugby league and rugby union players of Australian heritage.[3] Players from Ireland and Canada have become common as the sport's reach extends internationally, and due to the similarity of the game with Gaelic Football.[1][3][9]

See also

AFL Europe

Australian Rules Football in Europe

Australian Rules Football in England


  1. ^ a b c d "Australian Rules Football". University of Oxford Sports Federation. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Oxford University Australian Rules Football Club History". OUARFC Website. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e Roffey, Chelsea (3 December 2003). "No boats, but Oxford downs Cambridge". Australian Football League. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  4. ^ Hedgcock, Murray (22 August 2006). "Aussie Rules' history in UK - in just 250 words". Aussie Rules The World. Archived from the original on 24 September 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  5. ^ "National University League – AFL England". AFL England. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Sports Review 2016". Oxford University Sport Review: 20–21. 30 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Løvernes Historie 2013-2020". Odense Australsk Fodbold (in Danish). 11 February 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Fitzpatrick Cup 2020". Odense Australsk Fodbold (in Danish). 12 February 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Aussie rules ok?". Cherwell Newspaper. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2021.