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Gloucester Rugby to hunt for new "top-flight training facilities" after deal with Hartpury ends

Gloucester Rugby are looking for a new site to develop "top-flight training facilities" after announcing they will leave their current base at Hartpury in 2021.

The Kingsholm club and Hartpury University and Hartpury College have enjoyed a long-standing relationship.

As well as their training base at Hartpury's Sports Academy, the club supply players for Hartpury RFC through their academy programme and the university and college are one of the club's kit sponsors.

However, with the club needing to expand their facilities and Hartpury enjoying a rapid rise in the number of students in recent years, the decision has been taken for the club to move out.

In a statement, Gloucester Rugby said they plan to move from Hartpury and that the current 10-year-lease that expires in June 2021 will not be renewed.

It added: "The partnership between Gloucester Rugby and Hartpury has allowed aspiring players to study at the University and College, whilst working to progress along a rugby pathway.

"However, Gloucester Rugby's ambitions over the next few years require additional space for our top-flight training facilities.

"The search began some time ago, and we have identified a number of suitable sites within the county. We are now developing a shortlist before making a final decision.

Gloucester Rugby's chief executive, Lance Bradley, said: "The relationship between Gloucester Rugby and Hartpury has always been a good one, and will continue to be so.

"But we need to make sure that our training facilities match our ambitions as a Club, and we agreed that we would not be able to do that within our current site.

"We therefore began the search for a new site some time ago, and expect to make a final decision within the next few months."

When the lease was extended in 2011, Hartpury had fewer than 2,500 full-time college and higher-education students.

This year, that number is forecast to have risen to 4,000 with further growth to 5,000 students over the next five years.

In a statement, Hartpury University and Hartpury College vice-chancellor Russell Marchant said that they had "reluctantly" made the decision not to extend the lease.

Mr Marchant said: "The College and University sports departments need further facilities to ensure student experiences remain of the highest standard.

"Hartpury's Gloucester Rugby have enjoyed a very strong relationship over the years with many students progressing into professional contracts.

"The well-established relationship between Hartpury University, Hartpury College, Hartpury RFC and Gloucester Rugby remains exceptionally strong.

"We envisage that the pipeline of Hartpury youngsters signing for Gloucester Rugby will continue for many years to come."

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