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Varsity ambassadors

23 April 2012

Varsity ambassadors - WebThree of the University’s Varsity ambassadors, Catherine Spencer, Mike Hall and Rhys Williams

Four well-known sports personalities are supporting Cardiff students in Welsh Varsity, an annual sporting clash with rivals Swansea University.

Cardiff graduates Catherine Spencer and Pete Gardner along with former Wales’ international rugby players Mike Hall and Rhys Williams have become ambassadors for Team Cardiff in the event.

Philosophy graduate and rugby player Catherine has won 63 caps for England and led their women’s team to the finals of the 2010 rugby world cup. She is regarded as one of women’s rugby’s greatest players and at the height of her career was seeded second in the world.

Pete Gardner represented Great Britain in the men’s quadruple scull at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens having started rowing at the University while he was studying at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.

Mike Hall earned 42 caps for Wales and played in a tour of Australia with the British Lions in 1989 while Rhys Williams played for Cardiff Blues and won 44 caps for Wales as a full-back and winger.

As Varsity ambassadors the four will help raise the profile of Welsh Varsity and provide advice and guidance to Cardiff’s competitors.

Speaking about becoming a Varsity ambassador, Catherine Spencer said: "Having loved my time spent at Cardiff University I now feel very privileged and honoured to be a Varsity ambassador. Having retired from an International career involving two World Cup finals I can still say that some of my university fixtures are placed at the top of my rugby highlights list. I would like to wish both the Cardiff men and women all the best for their Varsity match."

Taking place on Wednesday 2 May 2012, more than 200 students from Cardiff and Swansea universities will compete in Welsh Varsity in events including golf, hockey and rowing.

Competitions will take place across the city with the Welsh Varsity Shield being awarded to the University with the most points across all sports.

Cardiff has never lost the Varsity Shield and Athletic Union President Oliver Devon hopes that Cardiff students can continue this tradition for another year.

"This year's Varsity is going to be bigger and better than ever before and I really hope to see thousands of Cardiff students descending upon the Welsh Institute of Sport and the Millennium Stadium to support all the teams competing in Varsity 2012," said Oliver.

"Every Cardiff student should take great pride in their University and join ‘Team Cardiff’ in the showcase event of the student year. Swansea students are more up for the battle than ever and the whole day promises to be an amazing spectacle of Student Sport. Come on Cardiff!"

The final event of the day will be the fight for the Varsity Rugby Cup. Played on the neutral ground of Wales’ Millennium Stadium, the match kicks off at 7.30pm.

Martyn Fowler, Head of Rugby at Cardiff said: "The Welsh Varsity match is now firmly established as the biggest amateur game on the Welsh Rugby Union’s annual fixture list. It is the culmination of eight months hard work for the students representing Cardiff University Rugby Club and the ideal shop window for our students to showcase their talents to the Regional and Premiership coaches in attendance. "

Tickets to support both Cardiff and Swansea at the 2012 Millennium Stadium encounter cost £10 and are available from The match will also be broadcast live on S4C.

Related links

Welsh Varsity