Six Nations rugby tournament features galaxy of Hartpury stars

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Hartpury has 17 players in the international squads at this year’s men’s and women’s Six Nations rugby championships – enough to field a team of its own.

There are 17 – a full team and two replacements – current or former Hartpury University and Hartpury College students and Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFC players in the squads for the showpiece tournaments, which continue this weekend.

Jonny May, Ellis Genge and Dan Robson are involved in the England men’s squad preparing for Saturday’s match against Italy, whose players include another Hartpury alumni, Sebastian Negri.

After beating England in their last game, former Hartpury student Ross Moriarty will be on duty with Wales as the tournament leaders look to move a step a closer to the title with victory over Scotland on Saturday.

In the women’s competition, Friday’s match between Scotland and Wales is set to include a number of players with Hartpury links.

Current Hartpury students Bethan Lewis and Hannah Jones are members of the Wales squad, which also includes Cerys Hale and Kelsey Jones from Gloucester-Hartpury Women RFC, a partnership between Hartpury and Gloucester Rugby.

Scotland’s Six Nations squad includes former Hartpury student Sarah Bonar and her Gloucester-Hartpury Women team-mate Katie Dougan.

The England squad, which faces Italy on Saturday, includes an array of players with links to Hartpury University and Hartpury College.

Current students Kelly Smith and Sarah Bern and graduates Hannah Botterman and Zoe Harrison are all involved with the squad, along with their Gloucester-Hartpury Women team-mates and Hartpury alumni Natasha Hunt and Tatyana Heard.

Tom Radcliffe, Director of Elite Sport at Hartpury, said: “It’s always a huge thrill to see our graduates fulfilling their ambitions and competing at the highest level in their chosen sport.

“We’re extremely proud to see so many of our current and former students competing for their countries again in this year’s men’s and women’s Six Nations, especially as we’ve seen on campus on a daily basis how hard they’ve worked to get there.

“These talented individuals, many of whom are still studying with us or regularly visit the campus, are a constant reminder to our students about what they could achieve if they set their minds to it.

“More than 200 Hartpury graduates have gained international honours in the past decade and, knowing how committed and dedicated our students are, I’ve no doubt there will be many more in the future.”

The rugby pathway at Hartpury means students can play for Hartpury College and then Hartpury University – based on the same 360-hectare campus – and its Championship club Hartpury RFC.

In December, Hartpury College won the AASE League final for the ninth time in 10 years, while Hartpury University won the BUCS Championship final at Twickenham in April.

Hartpury, training base of Gloucester Rugby, 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 featuring among the only high-resolution digital mirrors in the UK, a rehabilitation suite featuring an anti-gravity treadmill, and a human performance laboratory with an altitude chamber, and a sports hall.

Picture: Ross Moriarty playing for Hartpury as a student

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