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Gloucestershire Business News

Rugby World Cup win would be especially savoured in one corner of Gloucestershire

As the nation gets ready to watch England bid for global glory in tomorrow's Rugby World Cup final, in one corner of Gloucestershire there will be a sense of pride at the part they played.

Hartpury are proud to be a Rugby Football Union University Partner and the place where England's wing wizard Jonny May took his last steps into the professional game.

The RFU continues to give huge backing to the work of its 14 partnership universities, which includes Hartpury, to develop the oval ball game.

Hartpury RFC are currently punching above their weight in the Green King Championship, rugby's second tier.

Over the years, many Gloucester Rugby regulars and England internationals have taken their first steps into senior rugby with Hartpury.

But as a RFU University Partner, Hartpury have demonstrated how they cater for a breadth of playing experiences.

John Barnes, Director of Rugby at Hartpury, said: "This partnership is great news for the future of student rugby and we're pleased to have been selected by the RFU to help drive it forward.

"Hartpury already has an exceptional reputation for the quality of our rugby programme, with many of our BUCS players having the opportunity to play for local clubs at a range of levels, including for Hartpury University RFC in the Greene King IPA Championship.

"Many of our players go on to secure professional contracts and even international selection, but widening and increasing player participation across all levels is something we're passionate about, so we're delighted to support this exciting programme."

Mark Saltmarsh, Head of Education and Age Grade Rugby at the RFU, added: "The selected partner institutions are leading examples of universities who will provide a high level of commitment and a quality standard of rugby that will help enhance the experience for players of all abilities.

"Their commitment to this concept has been excellent and we see their rugby offers improving further still with our support of their development plans, tailored to their own students' needs."

In the past decade, more than 200 Hartpury graduates have gained international honours, including Wales forward Ross Moriarty, England wing May and Italy forward Sebastian Negri.

Just recently, 24 Hartpury graduates or current students were named in the latest England Women 15-a-side, Sevens and Under-20s squads.

Last season, the Hartpury College men's team won the AASE League final for the ninth time in 10 years and the women's team won the Rosslyn Park 7s for the fifth time in six years.

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While the Hartpury University men's team won the BUCS Super Rugby Championship final for the third year in a row at Twickenham in May.

Hartpury tailors academic and training timetables to suit student athletes and gives them access to a range of world class-facilities on campus.

Hartpury's new £8.8 million Sports Academy includes a biomechanics laboratory, a rehabilitation suite featuring an anti-gravity treadmill, and a human performance laboratory with an altitude chamber, and a sports hall.

The RFU partnership programme, established in 2016, provides funding and staff support to universities who focus on improving the rugby experience for their students.

Having reviewed the programme alongside the partner universities during the last year, the 2019-20 programme focuses on supporting each university's development plan, aligned to the RFU's strategic objectives.

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