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Civetta Leaving France To Study And Play At Oxford

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Civetta Leaving France To Study And Play At Oxford

Nick Civetta assesses he next move. David Barpal photo.

Nick Civetta has changed his mind about France and left RC Vannes to instead pursue a graduate degree at Oxford.

The Eagle lock forward, who had played for Newcastle in the Gallagher Premiership last season, had joined Vannes in the France's Pro D2. But with the season still a few weeks away, the former University of Notre Dame All American has opted not to play with Vannes after all.

"Vannes made me a good offer but the opportunity to go to Oxford, study, and aim for a Blue sounded more exciting," Civetta told Goff Rugby Report.

Civetta will be pursuing a Master's in Energy Systems. At the same time he will be playing with the Oxford University team and hope to earn his Blue in the annual Varsity Match against Cambridge. Civetta will still shoot to play for the Eagles, and said he might find some playing opportunities at a club near Oxford as well.

"I'm hoping to juggle a few things while studying," he said. "I'm still 100 percent committed to [the USA team]. Hopefully I can keep improving and keep getting picked."

Nick Civetta made his debut for the USA in 2016 against Romania. The 6-8 lock forward has played 26 times for his country, starting all 26, and that includes the 2019 Rugby World Cup.


According to our records, 14 Americans have earned a Blue in Rugby for Oxford. Of those, seven played for the USA (marked by an asterisk*), and one, Alan Valentine, won an Olympic Gold Medal in rugby (in 1924). (This has been corrected from 13 to 14. We had see a report from2011 that Jason law did not take the field in the 2011 Varsity Match, but that is incorrect, he played, and in fact also played in 2012. So apologies to Jason Law ... it's 14 Blues.)

Here is the list in chronological order with their undergraduate university in parentheses:

Donald Herring (Princeton)

Alan Valentine (Swarthmore) *

Fred Hovde (Minnesota)

Vincent Jones (Dartmouth)

Pete Dawkins (West Point)

Raymond Burse (Kentucky Centre)

Gary Hein (Cal) *

Don James (Cal) *

Ray Lehner (Cal) *

Kurt Shuman (Penn State) *

Adam Russell (Duke) *

Derek Asbun (Cal) *

Jason Law (Cal)

Will Johnson (Harvard) *


Several other Americans have played rugby at Oxford but didn't earn a Blue, including former President of the United States, Bill Clinton. Songwriter and actor Kris Kristofferson, who played rugby for the Santa Monica Rugby Club, attended Oxford and earned a Blue in boxing, but while he played rugby, did not earn a Blue.