Hartpury University RFC preparing for Knights challenge in Championship opener

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Hartpury University RFC – the only student-led team in the competition – are looking forward to kicking off their season in the Greene King IPA Championship tomorrow. 

Doncaster Knights are the visitors to the ALPAS Arena on Hartpury’s state-of-the-art campus for the opening clash of the league campaign (kick-off 2.30pm).

Hartpury’s Director of Rugby John Barnes said: “Every team will be keen to get off to a good start. There’s no reason why we can’t beat Doncaster and getting that first win under our belts would be great.”

Doncaster are making their third trip to Hartpury instrumental in furthering the development of talented student rugby players since the home side gained promotion in 2017.

Hartpury won the first encounter but Doncaster have won the last two, most recently in the Championship Cup three weeks ago.

Barnes added: ““We’ve obviously gone back and looked at that match and I’m sure that they’ve done the same.

“However, it was very much ‘pre-season’ for us – we made so many errors and our lineout didn’t function – and so it was very obvious what we needed to go away and work on.”

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

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

Picture: Joe Margetts scoring for Hartpury University RFC against Newcastle Falcons

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