Anton Oliver, who is a former captain of the New Zealand All Black squad will be studying for a Masters degree in Biodiversity, Environment and Management.

Oliver, 32, retired from international rugby last year. He told the New Zealand Herald, “I feel very privileged to have been accepted into Oxford University. I see my time at Oxford as a clear demarcation in my life, leaving behind a life as professional sportsperson for one of academic rigour and thought.

“The chance to play in the Varsity match – which is clearly a unique event in rugby union – is also very exciting and I see it as a natural way for me to finish my playing career” he added.

Christopher Dix, ex-Secretary for the Blues Committe said, “It is absolutely fantastic to see such a renowned rugby player being accepted into Oxford and I honestly cannot think of a more fitting end to such an impressive career than playing for the Dark blues”.

The University’s Director of Sport, Steve Hill, said, “OURFC is delighted Anton Oliver has decided to study and play rugby at Oxford next season.

“Anton is known as a hard nosed, no nonsense type of player who very much leads by example on and off the field. Having played at the highest level for more than a decade his knowledge, especially of front row play, will be invaluable to the Blues squad and in particular to the younger members of our club,” he said.

“Oxford is determined to win the Varsity Match this coming December and having someone of Anton’s calibre in the pack will be of significant assistance in this cause,” he added.

Oliver studied as an undergraduate at Otago University in New Zealand from 1994 and in 1997 made his All Blacks debut in a match against Fiji. During his career, Oliver has amassed a total of 55 caps and published a book, Anton Oliver, Inside in which he expressed concerns at the drinking culture of the All Blacks team.

In the book, Oliver describes how a letter from a fan urged him to alter his behaviour off the pitch – which had on occasion been referred to as loutish.