Hartpury College is the best in the world at producing professional rugby players, according to a new study.
The specialist rugby website NextGenXV has investigated which schools and colleges were attended by players currently contracted to clubs in top leagues around the world – the Gallagher Premiership, Guinness Pro 14, Japan Top League, Super Rugby and Top 14.
The study found that 38 currently contracted players had attended Hartpury College, including 29 in the Premiership – the top division in England.
That figure was matched only by Grey College in South Africa, also on 38, with Blackrock College in Ireland and Paul Roos in South Africa in joint third place on 26.
Among the current former Hartpury College students playing in the Gallagher Premiership is Gloucester Rugby’s Louis Rees-Zammit, who was recently named the Rugby Players Association’s Young Player of the Year.
Other Hartpury College alumni currently playing professionally include Rees-Zammit’s Gloucester Rugby team-mate Jonny May, Ross Moriarty (Dragons, Pro 14) and Ellis Genge (Leicester, Premiership).
The rugby pathway at Hartpury – a RFU University Partner – means that alongside their studies, students can play for Hartpury College, then Hartpury University and its Championship club Hartpury University RFC.
John Barnes, Director of Rugby at Hartpury, said: “We’re extremely proud of all our alumni who have gained a successful career in professional rugby after being part of our college and university rugby academies.
“We provide a fluid pathway for players to progress, with access to outstanding facilities and specialist coaches, alongside links with Premiership academies and regional academies in Wales.
“In addition, we try to be as flexible as possible with the degree, diploma and A-level courses that students can do, so they can combine different subject areas, such as agriculture, with their rugby.
“People recognise that Hartpury is a great educational establishment alongside rugby and that’s a really big draw.”
The NextGenXV list is based on current official published squad lists by teams in the Gallagher Premiership, Guinness Pro 14, Japan Top League, Super Rugby, and Top 14. The figures are correct as of 25 September 2020.
Picture: Louis Rees-Zammit playing for Hartpury