JAMES Wade has revealed a frank discussion with Oxford University’s players after last year’s Varsity Match defeat led to a change of approach for this campaign.

The Dark Blues only have one warm-up game remaining – Saturday’s home clash against Richmond – before the crunch contest against Cambridge University at Twickenham on December 6.

Oxford have lost their last two Varsity matches and Wade said players reported feeling burnt out ahead of last year’s 20-10 defeat in the debrief.

The head coach, who has masterminded four victories over Cambridge since his appointment in May 2011, took the feedback on board and has looked to shuffle his pack where possible.

Wade made 13 changes for last Wednesday’s victory over Cardiff in the Major Stanley’s match and will consider how many of his regulars will feature this weekend against Richmond.

The fixture ends a busy run of three games in a fortnight and the head coach is keen to make sure his players are fresh heading into the Varsity Match.

He said: “We’re training really well and it’s high intensity at the moment, and we thought we would keep people’s match-time correct, so people don’t burn out.

“One piece of feedback from last year’s Varsity was that the boys were a little tired going into it, but it wasn’t an excuse.

“So we said ‘right ok let’s just switch things around a little bit and, if that’s what they want give it to them’.”

Oxford were missing a cutting edge when beating an under-strength Cardiff 27-5 at Iffley Road, but Wade was not concerned by the performance.

He said: “It was a bit frustrating, we lacked a lot of shape and a lot of direction at the start.

“But there was a lot of new faces so it was to be expected.”

Captain Dom Waldouck was due to start, but pulled out of the warm-up and had his right leg strapped while watching from the sidelines.

But Wade insists it was purely precautionary and the level of opposition played a part in the decision to not risk the former Heineken Cup winner.

“It’s just a niggle and he’ll be fine,” said the head coach.

“Why risk when you have a niggle?

“I think if Cardiff had turned up with a full quota and a full team then Dom might have started, but we looked at it and thought let’s not risk it.”