JAMES GREENWOOD should be looking forward to this year's Varsity rugby match at Twickenham on December 10 - but he admits he has not covered himself in glory in two previous outings.
Two years ago he was on the winning Cambridge side but was recovering from an ankle injury and made little impression after coming off the bench - only aggravating his problem.
Last year he was on the losing side and had, in his words, 'an absolute shocker'.
"I missed a couple of tackles and my confidence dipped. It was just one of those days," he said.
Greenwood is one of two Ealing citizens who will be involved in the match - the other is back row economics student Predee Anuvatnujotikul. The pair will be out to restore pride for the light blues, who lost 33-29 to Oxford last year in the annual showdown between the two universities, which has been going since 1872 and has been staged at the home of English rugby since 1921.
But Greenwood accepts it is never easy in front of 30,000 fans.
"Terrifying may be the wrong word, but it's a high-pressure game where the whole season rests on that one game," he said.
Greenwood started playing rugby while at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith and has since turned out for London Welsh and London Scottish. He has a degree in chemistry from Bristol University and is studying land economy at Hughes Hall College. He recently represented Cambridge in a rowing challenge against Oxford's rugby team at Molesey Boat Club, Surrey.
And there was a good omen ahead of the rugby encounter. Coached by Olympic gold medallist Tom James, Cambridge narrowly beat the dark blues, coached by Olympic gold medallist Andy Hodge. The race was over 1500m, with three members of the two rugby teams taking it in turns to row 500m. But there was a difference to the traditional boat race as the teams stayed on dry land, contesting the race on an ergo - an indoor rowing machine.