For the first time in the 158-year history of the Boat Race, just one Brit will compete for Cambridge, and president David Nelson believes the national diversity of his team can help them fulfil 15/8 odds for victory.
Australian Nelson will take a place in the bow for Saturday’s Thames race, and will be part of a crew which includes three Americans, two Australians, a German and New Zealander in addition to exclusive Brit Mike Thorp.
However, Nelson feels the multicultural nature of his squad will not hinder Cambridge’s chances of adding to their 80 Boat Race wins.
“Having different nationalities in the crew is an advantage. We have a lot of experience and we can draw on that.”
“The Boat Race is demanding and it’s good to have that strength and experience to draw on. Whatever is thrown at us, we can deal with it,” the Australian told Bloomberg News.
Only one instance of the race, which first began in 1829, has featured just one British rower for any one side, and that was the 2007 edition in which Oxford were beaten after making the bold move.
However, the Blues have triumphed in four of the past six races and will be confident of further closing the gap on their rivals by racking up a 77th win, with a side that this year features four Britons.
Cambridge will take solace though, from the fact that they will carry the top weight into the race, with the heaviest boat emanating victorious from seven of the past ten renewals.
The 7.9kg average difference between the oarsmen of either side is the second-largest margin ever ahead of the race, and as Oxford emerged triumphant with the biggest ever gap back in 1990, Cambridge could spring a surprise at 15/8 this weekend.