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The University of Melbourne has come out on top in at an Oxford v Cambridge style showdown at  this afternoon’s  51st Head of the Yarra.

The University of Sydney has challenged the University of Melbourne’s crown at this year’s Head of the Yarra in a university showdown at the nation’s rowing classic being held this year on Saturday 28 November.

Dr Geoffrey Vaughan, a former Wallaby and Melbourne University Rugby Football Club player, says the University has had a long history against the University of Sydney.

"Melbourne University started in 1909, the same year as the Victorian Rugby Union.  And the VRU to promote rugby in Victoria paid for an invited Sydney University team to come to Melbourne for a Melbourne University-Sydney University and we celebrate that this Saturday.  That started the Melbourne Uni-Sydney Uni games, which continued on regularly until the First World War, when rugby in Melbourne faded."

"After the war, funnily enough, Melbourne University started playing rugby league, which had started up in Victoria in a very junior sort of a way, but by 1923 the University club switched back to union specifically so they could play in the thriving intervarsity competition."

"There's been a number of intervarsity matches of note.  Intervarsity rugby has generally been dominated by Sydney University and Queensland University, the home states of rugby union, but Melbourne won several intervarsity matches in the 1930s." 

"We've also had a strong impact on rugby internationally, as a number of wallabies have come from MURFC.  For example, in 1934-35 Weary Dunlop became the first Victorian born Wallaby, and he had a long association with the club."

The Melbourne University Rugby Football Club (MURFC) will celebrate its 100th anniversary with an exhibition match against Sydney University Football Club on Saturday 6 June on the main University of Melbourne oval.

While all eyes were on Beijing Olympic gold medallist Steve Hooker last night in his attempt to break the world pole vault record at Olympic Park, the University of Melbourne will host an elite athlete meet tomorrow featuring the next generation of Australian pole vaulters.

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