Excitement is building as Hartpury’s University Centre team gets set for kick off in the new BUCS Super Rugby competition, and captain Sebastian Negri says his team are raring to go for the new challenges on the horizon.
With the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Premier competition having previously been split into north and south leagues, this season sees the top eight rugby-playing universities combined into one competition - BUCS Super Rugby – and back row Negri was part of the launch at Twickenham on Friday (September 16th), alongside coach Sean Lynn.
Hartpury kick off their BUCS Super Rugby campaign with a trip to Durham University on October 5th, 2016, and will be hoping to make it all the way to the showpiece final at Twickenham on March 26th.
And leading them into battle will be number eight Negri, who follows in the footsteps of illustrious former Hartpury BUCS captains, including England and Gloucester Rugby wing Jonny May.
“First of all it’s an honour and a privilege to captain Hartpury,” said the 22-year-old, who made his first appearance for the Italy senior team on their tour of the USA in the summer.
“Look at the names to have come through, like Matt Gilbert and Jonny May, the history behind the team; it’s up to us now to take Hartpury to new heights.
“The last few seasons have been a little bit disappointing for us in the BUCS Championship in that we have gone out at the semi-final stage, but hopefully we can push on and go all the way this year.
“I honestly believe we can do it, we’ve got a great team, great staff behind us and a great squad. It means the world to me that I am leading them out and I will give the best of my ability.”
In the new BUCS Super Rugby, Hartpury will take on University of Bath, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Durham University, University of Exeter, Leeds Beckett University, Loughborough University and Northumbria University in their quest for Twickenham glory.
“I think every game is going to be harder this year in the new BUCS Super Rugby format with the best four in the south and best four in the north going head to head,” added Negri.
“Loughborough is always going to be a tough test. We played them last year in the semis and we lost, so hopefully we can get one back on them. It’s a new challenge and we need to do our homework on each team, because each team will pose their own challenges.”
Hartpury College backs coach, Sean Lynn, added: “We’re very excited, especially because the whole package of the student experience, playing at the top level, is given a great platform with this new league.
“I think all teams are going to be very competitive, but we have some excellent players in our squad, including the likes of Sebastian Negri, who has had a very good summer, having been selected to play for the senior Italy side, and James Forrester, who is really going well with the Hartpury RFC team in National League One.
“We’re very proud to be a part of BUCS Super Rugby. We want to be up there with the best. We want to be at Twickenham again and take the trophy back.”
BUCS Super Rugby is a new national league, bringing together the eight best men’s university rugby teams in the country. The league is run by British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) and powered by Rugby Vertical. For more info visitwww.bucs.org.uk/superrugby