Rugby Union: Blues Brothers relish thrill of the big occasion

Varsity match: Giant Antipodeans and US forward are among today's 20-strong foreign legion. David Llewellyn reports
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The Independent Online
THE INNES boys are big. They are Australian with strong Scottish lineage. They are up at Cambridge University reading social and political sciences and today they will pack down together in the second row to lock the Light Blues' scrummage.

Angus, the elder by 13 months, rattles the scales at 17.5st; Hamish, at 6ft 6in, is half an inch taller and a pound of prime Aussie fillet lighter, although he is still on the large side of huge.

Hamish, 26 and a qualified solicitor, who works for the Department of Justice in Queensland, is taking a sabbatical to further his professional education: "Government policy is a big area of my job and this course linked in very well with my work," he said. "I wouldn't say I was particularly interested in politics but you can't help but get involved when you are dealing with issues at the department. My employers have given me two years off and I am very happy."

Angus, 27, is something of a professional student. Having gained a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Queensland, for whom he and his brother played rugby, he got half-way through a valuation degree at Queensland University of Technology before putting his studies on hold to play professionally in Japan shortly before the game officially turned pro.

Three years later he has turned up at Hughes Hall, having arranged things independently of Hamish, and still has his valuation degree to finish when he returns to Australia. But he has his life ordered. "Rugby takes priority for me," he says. Not so surprising, as Angus explains: "There is rugby history in the family. My mother's brother David Dunworth played for the Wallabies at prop."

Angus has represented his country at Under-21 level before heading to the Far East. But even before that he was proving something of a Corinthian, having rowed for Australia in the coxed fours in the Junior World Championships in Hungary in 1989. These days Angus's boating skills are put to more practical use as a lifeguard, which involves handling rubber dinghies with powerful outboard motors - dubbed "rubber duckies" - although there is still time for him to row in the surf boat championships as well.

Hamish also goes surfboating and he, too, is a lifeguard. Since part of their father's family is to be found in the Western Isles there is a natural progression in this interest. But right now all thoughts of sand, surf and and fun have been beached.

Today is the big one. "Playing in something like this is just tremendous," says Hamish. "I've watched the Varsity match many times on television, but to be a part of it is unbelievable."

Angus watched last year's Blues beano - the then Cambridge captain, Tom Murphy, is a friend of the Innes brothers and was influential in persuading both of them to head for the university. And after the experience at Twickenham last year Angus says: "I thought to myself `Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?'"

So here he is. And his brother. "I very much enjoy playing with Hamish. We have learned the intricacies of each other's game and I suppose it adds a spur when you are playing with family, or someone you are very close to. I certainly don't feel protective towards him because he is my younger brother. He is big enough these days to take of himself."

Hamish is equally proud to be winning his first Blue and adds: "Doing this with my brother is just fabulous. He is a very inspirational bloke and you can't help but get buzzed up when your brother is beside you the whole time."

Stand by for the Blues Brothers.